Anecdotes of sports medicine - Heidi Schüller

One of my goals in organizing the Limburg Congress for Sports Medicine was to have speakers who could draw on their own rich experience. So a lot of them appeared on the scene over the years, who did not only show their experience as a medical doctor, but who had also been successful athletes.

One of them was German Heidi Schüller (1950-), whose images traveled around the world when she was the first woman to take the Olympic oath at the start of the summer games of 1972. She herself competed in Munich in the 100m hurdles and the long jump. In the latter event she finished fifth. She was German champion and record holder on the 50m hurdles indoor and the 100m hurdles outdoor and she also competed in the pentathlon. As a physician's daughter, she graduated magna cum laude in 1976 and specialized in anesthesia at the University of Cologne, where she became chief physician of the anesthesia and intensive care department a few years later. But in 1985 she switched her career, she jumped on journalism and broke through on the small screen, where she presented the television shows 'Drei nach Neun', 'Talk im Turm', 'Club 2' and 'Themenabende'. In the nineties she wrote a series of books. In her bestseller 'Die Gesundmacher' from 1993, as an insider she mercilessly dealt with what she called 'the demigods in white'.  Her criticism was mainly focused on the blind belief in the progress of medicine. She also argued against any form of life extension.

"There has not really changed anything in the last hundred years, and the increased life expectancy is due to a few medical achievements, such as antibiotics, improved hygiene and reduced infant mortality."

She didn't spare health consumers:

"Health starts in the head, the people in this country may have to redefine the concept of health, and only after careful consideration of medicines, one should not fight any normal aging symptom with a medical arsenal as a disease."

She largely blamed the media . Many sensational articles about new healing methods had a mainly economic background, but were not effective.

In an interview just before the Beijing Olympics, she expressed her displeasure of the fact that the Olympics were no longer about the athletes, but that the four-year events had grown into a multibillion-dollar business, in which the athletes served as folklore. In the same interview she confessed that she would no longer be able to take the Olympic oath.

"The fact that being there is everything is complete nonsense."The winner takes it all", and that's why they will do everything for a victory, even with ghostly means, you can't really believe that in Beijing there is no problem with doping, if not during the Olympiad itself, then certainly long in advance, so that they are in top form for the Games.
During the winter before the Olympics in '72 I witnessed how some athletes in the German training camp opened their sports bags and took anabolic steroids out of large plastic boxes, which they reportedly had obtained from the GDR stocks through Swedish sports students. They took them by the handfull according to the principle 'I take three more than you'. I myself was offered Effortil, a vascular product, or alternatively a glass of champagne, I took the glass of champagne, I was healthy, I think they wanted to test if you were willing to do it.

When Rudolph Scharping (1947-) in 1994 became SPD candidate for German chancellor he intended to nominate Heidi Schüller Minister of Health, but Scharping lost the election battle

With her books 'Die Gesundmacher' (1993), 'Die Alterslüge' (1995) and 'Wir Zukunftsdiebe' (1997), she denounced the wrong developments in health and pension policy and encouraged unpopular reforms. She even received death threats from certain lobby groups.

After the doping confessions of the German cycling doctors Lothar Heinrich, Andreas Schmid and Georg Huber, she saw her years of criticism of certain applications in sports medicine confirmed and she said about drug addicted sports stars:

"They are crazy."