276°
Posted 20 hours ago

Jan Ullrich: The Best There Never Was

£12.5£25.00Clearance
ZTS2023's avatar
Shared by
ZTS2023
Joined in 2023
82
63

About this deal

However, of course a State is composed by different power structures and groups of interest, and so it’s still possible that the wheel goes on turning and people end up being investigated all the same. The possibility of doping in the DDR days is perhaps more about Ullrich’s upbringing as a child and the person he became, but as suggested above, the danger is ersatz psychology. And yet – for all the acres of coverage he received throughout his career, and the interest in Ullrich as the only person who had seemed capable of knocking Armstrong off his perch – the boy from East Germany remained an enigma. Whereas, as the piece above shows, having been part of the DDR Sport System is enough to start speaking about doping.

Well apparently Gabriele is very sensitive about East Germany… As Inrng often says, it gives more informations about you than about the subject when you react so strongly to what is at worst a slightly deflected review of a book you didn’t read.The book places Ullrich’s life in the wider context, the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification are more than a historic and political soundtrack, these events shapes lives. At the risk of ruining the book for others, the story is more about a young man who was unable to cope with the sudden fame and fortune that was thrust upon him. Even when he didn’t win, there was always the seasonal targeting of the Tour with his preparation getting more intense the closer the race got. I got the impression that the author went to great lengths to not make this book an “East Vs West” narrative. I think that if there’s a contrast in attitudes of sort to reflect about is how singling out DDR allows us to “forget” all the time what USADA was doing, or CONI and so on and on.

You won’t look at a chocolate Toblerone bar again but after this anecdote Friebe is quick to add “there were elements of pantomime, like this, but also moments when the sport seemed not so much to have mislaid its moral compass as lost contact with Earth’s magnetic field”. The point is that when doping is strongly related to some of the State’s power structures (as it was in the DDR, for sure… and pretty much everywhere else) it becomes harder to tackle for a series of reason. Although cases of doping on minors in the DDR were actually reported, the doping angle looks totally misplaced here, especially considering the Keulephant in the Room: Ullrich spent a couple of years in a KJS, at most three, as an early teenager, whereas pretty much his whole pro career happened at Telekom / T-Mobile over more than a decade.Let’s leave the Keul and Southern (Federal) Germany universities surprise to the readers of the book, then. Jan Ullrich’s career was part of this, his first win suggested he’d dominate the Tour, and with it the sport for years to come. Whether through early problems like weight gain or the deep personal problems of recent years, at times there’s a temptation as a reader to place Ullrich onto an imaginary psychologist’s couch and diagnose his issues through the pages, especially as the intensity of the book seems to grow with recent events where Ullrich goes from trying to win a bicycle race to coping with life.

There’s exploration on when Ullrich might have started using EPO and whether he was a victim of the East German state doping program. As I said previously the author went to great lengths to not just make the book a lazy finger pointing job at the old East. Now the two systems are different in obvious ways that a book review doesn’t need to cover, readers can reflect on this. It’s an irony of sort that they were founded the same year when Keul was elected President of the German Association of Sports Physician.

Amid all of this Ullrich’s career span took him from the state doping programmes of the DDR, the rise of EPO, the switch to blood bags, and the brief duopoly of Michele Ferrari and Eufemiano Fuentes. Friebe sensibly avoids this diagnosis, there’s sympathy but no solutions as the book sets out the struggles with addiction and mental health. He was soon also voted Germany’s most popular sportsperson of all time, and his rivalry with Lance Armstrong defined the most controversial years of the Tour de France. There’s injury, drink-driving, a doping ban following an out-of-competition test after a nightclub and the slide begins. When the Wall collapses and Ullrich goes to ride for a team in Hamburg he and his team mates are housed on the notorious Reeperbahn and the contrast must have been astonishing for a 19 year old fresh out of the Berlin sports system.

There’s plenty of stuff about Telekom and Fuentes and you certainly don’t come away thinking “if only he’d been born in the West”. Of course, only Fuentes has been *proven*, but just as Friebe “explores” the DDR leit motiv, why don’t explore this also rather promising subject, given that Ullrich had quite much a stronger relation with the Telekom team than with the DDR, be it only due to mere chronology? Doping Opfer Hilfe (essentially focussed on victims of State doping under the DDR) is probably one of the best possible examples of the serious issues which may be fostered by this kind of notable (and declared) ideological biases. If you want I could also name several doped ex-athletes in cycling and beyond who get moral and financial support today… without having ever had any relation with DDR, imagine that.However, *unless* serious facts are brought forth by Friebe on the subject, I still find that speaking of a couple of seasons as a teenager in a State Sport School as a meaningful doping-related point is just poorly reinforcing commonplace assertions, especially given that the subsequent twenty years or so showed that Ullrich was *actually* being doped in every sort of other system (and the passive voice is also especially relevant here), *plus* that athletes from any sort of background became “that kind of person” without any help from the DDR. The good thing is that at least they apparently have recently started having an internal debate on the subject, although the bad thing is that it quickly escalated to a feud. This is an institutional level of financial and moral support that I’ve not seen in pro sports whether it’s cycling, tennis, athletics etc, but for many reasons this is not going to happen, because it’s not the state that’s perpetuating it, because some victims because wealthy through it and so on. I guess I’d need to read it but frankly from what inrng reports the focus on DDR doping and so on looks laughable at best, especially when speaking of a prominent Telekom athlete.

Asda Great Deal

Free UK shipping. 15 day free returns.
Community Updates
*So you can easily identify outgoing links on our site, we've marked them with an "*" symbol. Links on our site are monetised, but this never affects which deals get posted. Find more info in our FAQs and About Us page.
New Comment