German shot putter Christina Schwanitz, hurdler Pamela Dutkiewicz, steeplechaser Gesa Krause and heptathlete Carolin Schaefer are looking forward to competing on home soil at the Berlin 2018 European Championships this August.
Berlin 2018 forms part of the inaugural multisport European Championships being held in Glasgow and Berlin from 2-12 August 2018.
The European Championships will take place every four years, supported by Europe’s free-to-air broadcasters. The event aggregates the existing senior continental championships of Athletics (European Athletics), Aquatics (LEN), Cycling (UEC), Gymnastics (UEG), Rowing (FISA), Triathlon (ETU), with a new Golf Team Championships (ET & LET) – all unified under a common brand. Athletics will take place in Berlin from 7-12 August, while athletes from the other sports will compete in Glasgow 2-12 August.
The vision for the event is to create a must-watch, must-attend experience that elevates the Champions of Europe during an 11-day celebration of sport and packed 10-day broadcast schedule backed by free-to-air television through EBU.
Check out videos of the five female German stars hoping to make their mark in Berlin.
Shot Putter Christina Schwanitz
German shot putter Christina Schwanitz is looking forward to competing on home soil at the Berlin 2018 European Championships this August. She’s also looking forward to breaking a few stereotypes.
“Generally speaking, I really like the fact that the audience seems to realise that shot put is not just shot put but also a high-performance sport,” Schwanitz says. “What I do not like is the concept many people have of what an athlete’s body should look like. Us shot-putters are a bit farther away from the ideal 90-60-90. I can offer these measurements for one leg, but not for my entire body. That is the problem.”
The 32-year-old Dresden native, who stands 1.8 m tall and weighs 105 kg, would certainly look out of place running the 10,000 metres. But so too would long-distance runners attempting shot put.
“I believe it would be better if everyone valued the fact that we need these types of bodies to perform our sports,” she continues. “On the one hand, we are high-performance athletes. On the other hand, we are normal young women, putting on make-up, going out and wearing skirts.”
Schwanitz will be seeking her third gold medal at Berlin 2018 following victories in 2014 and 2016.
Hurdler Pamela Dutkiewicz
“Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” Muhammad Ali once famously said in describing his fighting style. The same could be said about Pamela Dutkiewicz, the 100-metre hurdler who is as comfortable being ferocious on the track as she is being “girlie” off of it.
For Dutkiewicz, her competitive nature and her slightly more frivolous pursuits should not be mutually exclusive.
“I think I’m a normal girl,” she says. “I like to dress up, do my hair and paint my nails. Some people call me ‘girlie’ for fun and I think that this is completely OK! I’m both: a passionate professional athlete and a ‘girlie’. One does not exclude the other.”
Make no mistake though, when she takes the blocks at the multisport European Championships this August in Berlin and Glasgow, Dutkiewicz will be the picture of strength and determination.
“Once I’m standing on the track, I give it all I’ve got,” Dutkiewicz says. “I sweat and push myself to the limits! Of course, I have some psychological tricks to rely on. There is a specific picture of a lioness in my head, which I always remember. At first, Lions are calm, then they focus on their prey and finally attack with a burst of speed at the right moment. Sprinting feels similar to me. Like the maximum explosion after complete silence.”
Dutkiewicz will be seeking her first European Championship medal when she competes at Berlin 2018. Berlin 2018 forms part of the inaugural multisport European Championships being held in Glasgow and Berlin from 2-12 August 2018.
Steeplechaser Gesa Krause
They say the greatest glory lies not in never failing, but in rising every time you fall. Gesa Krause knows this only too well.
At the World Championships in London in 2017, the German steeplechaser tumbled over a competitor who had fallen in front of her. While on the ground, another runner inadvertently stepped on Krause’s ankle. To her credit, Krause picked herself back up and gamely finished the race in ninth place.
Krause was brought to tears at what had transpired, to the point where she even started to question what she was running for.
“I was frustrated and sad about what happened,” Krause says. “The very next day I went for a run but quit after 2 or 3km, because I just didn’t feel like running and was annoyed, sad, disappointed and thought there’s just no point in training today.”
Fortunately for the 26-year-old German, she had a good support team around her. “My parents and my boyfriend told me that day: ‘Have a look online. You’ve received so many messages. Read them, they will lift you up.’ I said: ‘I don’t care what’s on social media.’ Of course, I was wrong, as it turned out that everyone was on my side. But at that moment I was embarrassed that the whole world had seen me falling on my face. The reactions, however, were not negative at all. They were very positive, saying: ‘We are proud of you that you didn’t give up and kept on fighting!’ I am incredibly grateful for that!”
Krause can expect even greater support from the home crowd when she competes at the inaugural multisport European Championships being held in Glasgow and Berlin from 2-12 August 2018. The defending European Champion in the 3000m steeplechase, Krause will surely use the memory of London 2017 – and all the messages of support – to propel her forward in Berlin this August.
Heptathlete Carolin Schaefer
Heptathlete Carolin Schaefer finished second at the World Championships in London last year. She will look to do one better this August when she competes at the multisport European Championships being held in Glasgow and Berlin from 2-12 August 2018.
To get her to the top of the podium, Schaefer will draw inspiration from the tattoo inked on her right shoulder that reads: “You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
The quote is from the 2006 movie Rocky Balboa, the sixth film in the Rocky series starring Sylvester Stallone. Like Stallone’s character, Schaefer is a firm believer of learning from defeat and becoming stronger because of it.
“No matter how often you fall down, you have to get back up even stronger than before,” Schaefer says. “Always make the best out of everything. Defeats make you become a top athlete. Defeats write an athlete’s story. Defeats tell the story of the entire journey, the success and how to get back to the top again. I think in the end, defeats distinguish successful top athletes from not so successful ones.”