Former water jumper Heiko Meyer was dismayed by the allegations of abuse by his long-time dubbing partner Jan Hempel. “I knew this happened. But to what an extent – that also struck me,” said the 45-year-old, who won bronze in tower synchronized diving with Hempel at the 2000 Summer Olympics, the dpa. “This is incredibly sad and embarrassing.”
In a documentary by ARD entitled “Abused – Sexualized Violence in German Swimming”, Hempel used moving words to publicly raise allegations of sexual abuse against coach Werner Langer, who has since died.
Meyer revealed that Hempel let him in on it. “As a good and long synchro partner – we are still friends today – of course you experienced that,” said the husband of the former top jumper Christin Steuer: “But he never went into detail with me.”
After going public, he spoke to his friend, who was also in poor health, Meyer said: “He seems very calm, very introspective.” He hopes that the courageous step will pay off: “I wish that Jan can find some peace. He’s been a broken man for years anyway.”
The former top diver suspects “that certain people will now also fight back”. Nevertheless, it is right that the public is now informed. “Also to protect others,” said Meyer: “What sometimes happens in sports is sad.”
Such a scandal is a problem for the many irreproachable young coaches in Germany, Meyer said: “You are eyed twice and three times.” He himself is a youth coach at SC Riesa, “and because I know that from Jan, I always look left and right “. He behaves “unbelievably cautious”, for example, there is always a trainer present during stretching exercises “so as not to get into a quandary in the first place”.
Looking back, he himself considers it lucky that at the age of twelve or 13 he decided against the accused Langer and for Frank Taubert as a coach in Dresden. What might have happened otherwise, “I don’t even want to think about it,” said Meyer, “I’m very glad it went the way it did.”