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Well, there's also the whole USSR and successor states kerfuffle - and Jugoslavia of course as well. Even down here we have the problem of a unifid Australasian team in the early days of the games, and Australians who've competed for GB in. It's really an almost impossible task to sort out historical medal table discrepancies.

I think the complex nature of the Olympic history can and does make the whole issue of who's won what and how many at times about as useful a statistic as Paris Hilton's IQ. How can one claim a gold medal for any athlete at Athens 1896 when in fact they weren't actually presented as such. The games of 1900 and 1904 have their own peculiarities and of course as Chamonix wasn't given Olympic status until post-event are they rightly figured as part of any country's total.

Ultimately I think you have to let the IOC make the pronouncements on these 'facts' and await for them to accept any variation when presented with evidence contrary to what they have previously stated (as Harry Gordon did when he reviewed Donald MacIntosh's gold in Paris). And as for the GDR/DDR/FRG/Germany problem, no matter the morality or legality of those medals won by any athlete representing these countries and their respective NOC, if the medal was won by an athlete who identified him or herself as a German then it's a German medal. But it won't change the organisational allocation of who won what medals under which NOC's auspices.

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First of all: Until it has been proved beyond a doubt that doping was involved in winning a specific medal, a medal is a medal is a medal. Although I'm convinced that Usain Bolt is a drug cheat, I have to accept that he has three Olympic medals and that with them, Jamaica is bolstering up its numbers in the all-time medal table.

So even if many of them have been won under suspicious circumstances, also the GDR Olympic medals stay valid -- and so they should also be officially counted, regardless of whether they are counted for the GDR only or for Germany as a whole.

Secondly, I absolutely agree on what CAF said about the inclusion of the GDR medals in the overall German medal count. The GDR was a part of today's Germany, and it was one part of a whole nation. That distinguishes the German case from the cases of the former Soviet Union or the former Yugoslavia: They have split up into their different nations and so none of those different nations can add former USSR's or Yugoslavia's medals to its own all-time medal count.

And the problem starts already at the count of the medals of the Unified German Team (from 1956 to 1964). They were won by athletes from both parts of Germany, right? And they were won under a common flag, a common name, a common (makeshift) anthem, right? So why don't add them to Germany's all-time medal count? And then, if you have already included the medals by GDR athletes competing in the Unified Team, you can also include the medals they won from 1968 to 1988 as well.

Furthermore, you can't add only the German medals from 1896 to 1936 and the German medals from 1992 until today to the overall German medal count, leaving out the medals won by athletes from the two separated German countries between 1952 and 1988. That would hugely misrepresent Germany's achievements in Olympic history and also snub the athletes who had no other choice than competing for separated German countries instead for the nation as a whole.

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Ultimately I think you have to let the IOC make the pronouncements on these 'facts' and await for them to accept any variation when presented with evidence contrary to what they have previously stated (as Harry Gordon did when he reviewed Donald MacIntosh's gold in Paris). And as for the GDR/DDR/FRG/Germany problem, no matter the morality or legality of those medals won by any athlete representing these countries and their respective NOC, if the medal was won by an athlete who identified him or herself as a German then it's a German medal. But it won't change the organisational allocation of who won what medals under which NOC's auspices.

well - I am a little bit "at daggers drawn" with the IOC - since neither West-German nor East-German would deny that they are Germans - or even funnier a German, who won between 1956-1964 is esteemed as Unified Team German athlete, altough this IOC-code was not invented before 1992...

Statistics should show proportions between numbers, but that is absurd with the numbers of GER/FRG/GDR/EUA/SAR

First of all: Until it has been proved beyond a doubt that doping was involved in winning a specific medal, a medal is a medal is a medal. Although I'm convinced that Usain Bolt is a drug cheat, I have to accept that he has three Olympic medals and that with them, Jamaica is bolstering up its numbers in the all-time medal table.

So even if many of them have been won under suspicious circumstances, also the GDR Olympic medals stay valid -- and so they should also be officially counted, regardless of whether they are counted for the GDR only or for Germany as a whole.

Secondly, I absolutely agree on what CAF said about the inclusion of the GDR medals in the overall German medal count. The GDR was a part of today's Germany, and it was one part of a whole nation. That distinguishes the German case from the cases of the former Soviet Union or the former Yugoslavia: They have split up into their different nations and so none of those different nations can add former USSR's or Yugoslavia's medals to its own all-time medal count.

And the problem starts already at the count of the medals of the Unified German Team (from 1956 to 1964). They were won by athletes from both parts of Germany, right? And they were won under a common flag, a common name, a common (makeshift) anthem, right? So why don't add them to Germany's all-time medal count? And then, if you have already included the medals by GDR athletes competing in the Unified Team, you can also include the medals they won from 1968 to 1988 as well.

Furthermore, you can't add only the German medals from 1896 to 1936 and the German medals from 1992 until today to the overall German medal count, leaving out the medals won by athletes from the two separated German countries between 1952 and 1988. That would hugely misrepresent Germany's achievements in Olympic history and also snub the athletes who had no other choice than competing for separated German countries instead for the nation as a whole.

Mostly agreed, F.

I just have a slight different approach toward the URS/YUG/TCH/CZE/BOH problem or maybe in future of a KOR/PRK problem

Edited by Citius Altius Fortius
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Problem is CAF that whilst we may all argue the point, and I especially understand your sentiments, the IOC are the guys who own the show and hence when they issue pronouncements as to official participation etc then their the ultimate arbiters as to facts and figures. And as referred to at the beginning of all this semantic fracas, medals are awarded to atheletes representing a National Olympic Committee, just like the fact that Thomas Bach isn't officially a German IOC member, he's the IOC member in Germany. When it comes to the IOC's arcane and byzantine regulations and structures the concept of the IOC/NOC reigns supreme. Hence the statistical value placed on Norway becoming the first country to win 100 winter golds as it's actually its NOC that has that honour.

Would have been a lot easier if a certain mad bloody Austrian and his pack of arschlochs hadn't buggered up Deutschland 77 years ago, but that's history for you.

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eusebius

the funny thing is that these medal tables are not published by the IOC - they are/were never official - just search on the IOC-website - you won't find any medal table - these statistics are made by the media or/and by us to find a proportion between the data since 1896

How should you compare the numbers between e.g. USA or Germany - when athletes from the USA participated since 1896 in one team and athletes from Germany, who participated in five teams

The only thing is that the IOC publish the IOC-codes, but it changes codes in retrospect, too (e.g. the case of "EUA")) - like I have said it is absurd to compare any other number with the numbers of GER/FRG/GDR/EUA/SAR

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eusebius

the funny thing is that these medal tables are not published by the IOC - they are/were never official - just search on the IOC-website - you won't find any medal table - these statistics are made by the media or/and by us to find a proportion between the data since 1896

How should you compare the numbers between e.g. USA or Germany - when athletes from the USA participated since 1896 in one team and athletes from Germany, who participated in five teams

The only thing is that the IOC publish the IOC-codes, but it changes codes in retrospect, too (e.g. the case of "EUA")) - like I have said it is absurd to compare any other number with the numbers of GER/FRG/GDR/EUA/SAR

Ahh, but medal tables are a different kettle of fish. And you're actually referring back to the nub of the argument in that the IOC are all about NOCs when it comes to competitors.

Let's just say that German athletes representing German NOCs have won over 100 gold medals at the Olympic winter games. That is the easiest statistical truth to verify without getting caught up in some debate over whether a German in 1956 at Cortina d'Ampezzo was any less a German than one representing the DDR in 76 Innsbruck or a German at SLC in 2002.

Or perhaps if I had bought as I usually do at this time my copy of Wallechinsky's bible on Olympic history and medals, and cited him then we could end the debate with his pearls of wisdom.

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Let's just say that German athletes representing German NOCs have won over 100 gold medals at the Olympic winter games. That is the easiest statistical truth to verify without getting caught up in some debate over whether a German in 1956 at Cortina d'Ampezzo was any less a German than one representing the DDR in 76 Innsbruck or a German at SLC in 2002.

Agreed - totally agreed

:) :) :)

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I have to be a bit nit-picking -- but Eusebius, you said at the beginning of this thread: "Norway wins their 100th then the 101st winter gold medal in history, becoming the first nation to achieve this level of success". And this would only have been true if you had written "the first NOC (or country) to achieve this level of success". Since Germany is not only a country, but also a nation and since it has never seized to exist as nation (even not when the GDR existed), Germany is, besides Norway, the only nation to win more than 100 Winter Olympic gold medals. :P

Correction: ...has never ceased (not: "seized") to exist as nation

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I have to be a bit nit-picking -- but Eusebius, you said at the beginning of this thread: "Norway wins their 100th then the 101st winter gold medal in history, becoming the first nation to achieve this level of success". And this would only have been true if you had written "the first NOC (or country) to achieve this level of success". Since Germany is not only a country, but also a nation and since it has never seized to exist as nation (even not when the GDR existed), Germany is, besides Norway, the only nation to win more than 100 Winter Olympic gold medals. :P

Correction: ...has never ceased (not: "seized") to exist as nation

Fair point Olympian, but that was what I transcribed from new releases I read where I sourced the item (NY Times, Reuters, BBC, AP). I agree it could have read NOC, but that would have meant bugger all to 99% of those who read the original articles.

Can we now please move on? I'd suggest for anyone with interest in the whole question of what constitutes German statehood, versus nation, the unification movement of the nineteenth century, the Germanic consciousness of Arminius at the Teutoburger Wald in the first century AD, the Holy Roman Empire, Goethe and the 'sturm und drang' movement, linguistic and cultural significance of 'land', 'volk', 'reich' and finally the Olympic significance of the Wende to another thread :P

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^^ Sorry, can't let this go just yet :P

I'd never thought of it that CAF, and I can see your point.

Sigh! The trouble is with the debate on GDR medals is that while, yes, many are suspect and tainted, one can't say every GDR medal was not deserved. Is Germany not to be proud of a Katerina Witt, for example, for her achievements?

The problem with the GDR program, and probably to some degree Soviet Union and other east block countries was that it encompassed all athletes starting in the teens, although it is unclear if all the athletes were aware of it:

ich_will_das_nicht_sehen1250688913.jpg

http://open.salon.com/blog/lost_in_berlin/2009/08/19/east_german_doping_scandal_refuses_to_die

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-07-15/sports/sp-3016_1_east-german

http://www.runnersweb.com/running/philip_hersh1.html

http://www.atlantic-times.com/archive_detail.php?recordID=1954

Katarina With was part of the Stasi system. The chance that she did not take any drugs is in fact very slim. Of course many of the athletes in the GDR may have won their medals anyway, but that is not the point: They were won in a dishonest way. Of course, if it is the case that there is no official historic medal tally, the Germans can make any list they want, but it will be nothing to be proud of if it include the GDR. Another, more technical and less important point is that two NOCs will have greater chanse of winning more medals simply because they can participate with twice the number of athletes. I do not think anyone would protest if the the various forms of western and unified German medals were collected.

Since there was very lax control on doping well into the 90s, there were of course also many other athletes that were involved in doping. Hence, one way of avoiding this whole issue is simply to exclude all medals from the worst decades.

Oh, and BTW, two more medals for Norway / Trøndelag tonight....

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^^ Sorry, can't let this go just yet :P

The problem with the GDR program, and probably to some degree Soviet Union and other east block countries was that it encompassed all athletes starting in the teens, although it is unclear if all the athletes were aware of it:

ich_will_das_nicht_sehen1250688913.jpg

http://open.salon.com/blog/lost_in_berlin/2009/08/19/east_german_doping_scandal_refuses_to_die

http://articles.latimes.com/1989-07-15/sports/sp-3016_1_east-german

http://www.runnersweb.com/running/philip_hersh1.html

http://www.atlantic-times.com/archive_detail.php?recordID=1954

Katarina With was part of the Stasi system. The chance that she did not take any drugs is in fact very slim. Of course many of the athletes in the GDR may have won their medals anyway, but that is not the point: They were won in a dishonest way. Of course, if it is the case that there is no official historic medal tally, the Germans can make any list they want, but it will be nothing to be proud of if it include the GDR. Another, more technical and less important point is that two NOCs will have greater chanse of winning more medals simply because they can participate with twice the number of athletes. I do not think anyone would protest if the the various forms of western and unified German medals were collected.

Since there was very lax control on doping well into the 90s, there were of course also many other athletes that were involved in doping. Hence, one way of avoiding this whole issue is simply to exclude all medals from the worst decades.

Oh, and BTW, two more medals for Norway / Trøndelag tonight....

That sounds like a sour loser to me!

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you are right - I just can ask for understanding,

the problem with the GDR-FRG-Germany medals for us at the moment is, that all people, who grew up in the GDR and in the FRG are Germans - how would you react as a Norwegian, who grew up in a fictious East-Communist-Norway, who was proud that your athletes won many medals, are not counted as Norwegian medals anymore after a fictious reunification...

I suppose not many will understand this here on the boards, since it is really a unique situation

I think I understand where you're coming from CAF,but I confess I just don't understand how Germans could in any way be proud of the so-called sporting achievements of the former DDR now that we are all well acquainted with its well-documented programme of forcibly doping its athletes,often without their knowledge or consent.Why would you want to include them in Germany's Olympic achievements,given what we know about how they were obtained?

I agree that the DDR was not alone in doing this,that state-sponsored doping was a feature of many East European Communist states to some extent.It now makes me treat many of their so-called 'achievements' with a great deal of scepticism.But the doping programme in the DDR seemed to be so much more thorough and organised than elsewhere.Back in the 1970s and 80s,I used to marvel at how such a small country as the DDR with a population of about 17 million could regularly come second in the Olympic Medals Table after such mighty countries like the Soviet Union and the USA and even far outstrip their fellow Germans in the Federal Republic! In my naivety,I just assumed that the DDR had a wonderful sporting programme that enabled its athletes to outperform others from much larger countries and wished we could replicate it in my own country.Then the truth gradually emerged,the penny dropped and I now awoke to the real reason why so many female athletes from the DDR had a rather strange,mannish appearance!

It is interesting to me that since Germany's reunification in 1990 one no longer sees this amazing preponderance of medal-winning athletes from the former DDR.Can we really attribute this to inferior sporting opportunities in the reunified Germany or to an abrupt cessation of illegal state-sponsored doping? I'm sorry,but I suspect the latter.

Germany is one of the great sporting nations of the world and the natural ability of its athletes is admired the world over.In both Summer and Winter sporting events,Germany is regularly at or near the top as we are currently witnessing in Vancouver and it achieves all this without the aid of the kind of state-sponsored doping programme that operated in the former DDR!

PBS Documentary East German Doping Scandal

Forgotten victims of East German doping take their battle to court

Fallout still felt from East Germany's doping programme

Former East German athletes angry over doping confessions

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Hows about we set up a new thread in the general Olympics section dealing with this issue. It's an important an interesting one that perhaps needs to be contextualised within it's own framework, not in a semantic argument over who is or isn't a German gold medallist contrasted with Norway's Winter Olympic heritage.

And by the way...for every Koch, Otto or Ender there were literally hundreds of DDR athletes who were sucked in and spat out by the DDR's system, with all manner of residual problems. It ain't schwartz und weiss.

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