Nadja Drygalla, a former police officer and member of the German rowing team, left the Olympic village on Friday following reports that her boyfriend is a Neo-Nazi and that she herself sympathizes with far-right extremism.
Drygalla’s boyfriend is allegedly a “leading member” of Germany’s “Rostock National Socialists,” the party named after Third Reich doctor Paul Rostock, who was charged with carrying out heinous medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners during the Holocaust. The Rostock party is represented in two state assemblies, but not in the country’s federal parliament, according to reports.
The national Olympic association’s general director, Michael Vesper, said he and German rowing officials held a meeting with Drygalla in which she “stressed credibly” that she “is committed to the values of the Olympic charter.” One of the tents in the Olympic charter states:
Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.According to Vesper, Drygalla said she would leave the Olympic Village to avoid any “burden for the Olympic team.” The chairman of the national rowing association, Siegfried Kaidel, said it would hold further talks with Drygalla after the Olympics on “the further course of action.”
Germany’s intelligence agency describes the Rostock National Socialists as racist, anti-Semitic and inspired by the Nazis. Further, the party allegedly comprises mostly uneducated, young men and targets immigrant communities, blaming them for the country’s crime and unemployment rates.
Drygalla had already finished competing at the Games after the women’s rowing eight team, failed to make it to Thursday’s final. She left of her own accord after a 90-minute conversation German officials, according to the Associated Press.
The German rowing federation released a statement saying it welcomed Drygalla’s decision and promised it would have “another conversation with Nadja Drygalla in August after the Olympic Games” in an effort to decide “how to proceed.”
International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams also clarified that Drygalla had done nothing wrong during her time at the Olympic Games, saying, “there is no issue for us regarding the rower.”
“I have seen the report. But as far as the Games are concerned, she has not done anything wrong.”
Given Germany’s tainted history where race is concerned, it perhaps doesn’t come as a shock that the rower was encouraged to leave the games so as not to draw negative attention to her team mates and country as a whole.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.