No Austria comeback by Olympic champ Steiner
Olympic gold-medal winner Matthias Steiner has ruled out a return to Austria.
The Austria-born weightlifter won gold at last summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing for Germany. He joined that country’s weight-lifting federation after falling out with the Austrian Weightlifters Association over training methods in 2005.
Speaking to ORF.at, Steiner said today (Weds): “Performing for Austria again is unthinkable. First, I have become too strongly connected to the German Weightlifting Association. And second, I couldn’t fully trust anyone.”
The 26-year-old hit the headlines all-over the world for his emotional jubillance after winning the heavy-weightlifting competition in Beijing – and for holding a picture of his deceased wife before the cameras after he was awarded the gold medal. Susann Steiner died when a German driver crashed into her car in 2007 at high speed.
Looking back on his decision to leave Lower Austria and settle down in Germany to compete for that country, Steiner has no regrets. He said: “Of course, I would do everything the same way again. That is how I succeeded, obviously.
“But there are no borders for me (after assuming German citizenship). The way of life is so similar in both countries that I feel welcome everywhere. But it is a fact I was able to pursue my dream only in Germany,” he explained.
Steiner said the problem with Austrian sports bodies was their many honorary department chiefs. “Everyone claims a say, but too many cooks spoil the broth,” he said.
Steiner added it would be “very hard” to become Olympic weightlifting champion in the Austrian system.
Doping is an issue that is currently shattering Austria. Several respected cyclists and cross-country skiers have been accused or rumoured to have engaged in doping. Steiner shrugs off any accusations against him. He said: “I was checked 15 times during the Olympic year. The doping-check system is very strict in Germany.”
Steiner added his next goal was to return to the world elite after successfully recovering from groin surgery. (Austrian Times)