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Talking Germany

Blog with Peter Craven

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Martin Sauer’s hard-earned triumph

From home alone to gold in pocket

“I didn’t make the final team. I’d been left behind. So, I was home alone. Watching it on TV. And I cried my eyes out. There was a group of older rowers in the team. And another clique who were far younger. Somehow we failed to bring them together – and that’s why we lost.” It’s Martin Sauer speaking — my latest guest on Talking Germany. And he’s talking about how the German men’s eight came in last in the rowing at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Four years later – in London this summer – Martin coxed his crew to gold.

Date

September 23, 2012

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Willy Bogner’s Happy Ending

From bombs and hunger to life on the ranch

He was born in 1942. Right in the middle of World War Two. In Munich. He still remembers the droning noise of the allied bombers as they passed overhead, dumping their deadly cargo on the city. Eventually Germany capitulated. And then the next memory: American GIs with Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum. It’s a cliché, of course. But it was also a shimmering and highly symbolic reality. “After all,” he says, “we had nothing, except our hunger!” He’s Willy Bogner. Seventy years on – hale, hearty and healthy – he’s the head of a hugely successful fashion business and a former James Bond snow stunt cameraman! He’s also my latest guest on Talking Germany.

Date

June 25, 2012

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The freeriding Aline Bock

Falling apart, and falling together 

She’s brave and daring and charming. Very charming. And she tells me with a smile, a wonderful, winning smile about her last serious injury. Very serious. Not the one where she bit off her tongue. Not the one where she shattered her wrist. No – this was the one where she was lying there in the snow and ice, thinking that it was very likely that she was paralysed from the waist down: “Somebody had told me what it feels like – and that was precisely how it felt. So, of course, I was worried.” Luckily, it wasn’t quite that bad. This is Aline Bock, snowboard freerider, and my latest guest on Talking Germany.

Date

May 13, 2012

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Britta Steffen’s two problems

Brittle no more 

She seems very jolly. Straight out of the pool, into the car, and off to the Talking Germany studio. I’m not sure, but I think she’s just done four kilometers of butterfly. Problem is: her hair is still wet and it’s somewhere around minus five degrees outside. At least she does have it wrapped in one of those towel-turbans. Big cause for concern, though, because this is Britta Steffen, Germany’s top medal hope for the upcoming London Olympics – at least among the swimmers. And this can’t be good for her health. Will they blame me if my latest guest on Talking Germany comes down with a cold? Hope not.

Date

March 4, 2012

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Talking with Reinhold Messner about the extremes of parental responsibility

You can’t kill mountains!

Just over a decade ago I was walking in the Western Tian-Shan Mountains that tower up to the east of the capital city of Uzbekistan, Tashknet. Our team of three “western” journalists and a Russian guide were making good progress on an itinerary that had taken us along steep mountain ridges and over high passes. Then I stumbled, fell quite a distance, and smashed my knee. The result: the kneecap was shattered and, when I finally made it down the mountain (part of the way on a donkey!) and back to Germany, I was told that I’d never walk properly again. 

Date

June 6, 2010

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