German Teams Will Be Unified for '92 Olympics

From Associated Press

Germany will send a unified team to the Winter and Summer Olympics in 1992, the presidents of the two national Olympic committees announced Wednesday.

It will be the first time since the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo that Germany will compete with a unified team.

Willi Daume, president of the West German Olympic Committee, and Joachim Weiskopf, president of the counterpart East German organization, said the two national committees will merge in December to oversee the formation of a single team.

The union will follow the political merging of the two German states, expected in early December.

"We had no dissenting opinions whatsoever," Daume said. "The unification will be completed by the two Olympic committees in an orderly fashion. We will be working intensively together in the coming weeks."

The first appearance by the united German team in international athletics probably will be at an international competition at the World Indoor Track Championships in Seville, Spain, March 8-10, 1991, authorities in East Berlin said.

"We're moving ahead quickly for the sake of the athletes," Weiskopf said. "A fast merger is important in order to remove any uncertainty about who will make the team.

"As the two Germanys grow together there has been great concern over whether the athletes would feel shorted out of the competition for fewer places. Still we find great support among our sportsmen for forming one team from one country."

The two Olympic committee presidents said there was "complete agreement" between the two organizations about the decision.

Weiskopf said it was not yet clear how the team would be selected and funded. He also said the international sport governing bodies would need to decide how a single German team would be represented in qualifying competitions for world and Olympic events.

Separate teams representing both the National Olympic Committees already have participated in qualifying events in some sports.

In addition, both Olympic Committee presidents said they support the choice of Berlin as site of the Olympics in 2000.

"The city of Berlin should be accepted by the International Olympic Committee for athletic and humanitarian reasons," Daume said.

The groups, with active participation by athletes, will develop concrete plans for the formation of a team for the 1992 winter games in Albertville, France, and the summer event in Barcelona, Spain.

At the Seoul Olympics in 1988, East Germany won 127 medals and West Germany won 48. The total of 175 would have been 14 more than the Soviet Union, but each athlete from East and West Germany might not have qualified for the Games in a unified system.

"It is the place for sports to lead in this direction. It is a great step towards peace," Weiskopf said.

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