It is sad how some journalists can take quotes out of context and in their search for headlines don’t care how the falsely quoted person is discredited. That is what Stefan Tabeling of the dpa, the German news agency, did with his dpa story today. Here is the press release from the Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (German Cycling Federation) and me concerning this article:
The Bund Deutscher Radfahrer defends itself again the biased reporting of the Deutschen Presseagentur dpa, which gives the impression that our athlete Marcel Kittel does not take disabled sport seriously. Even the headline is uncalled-for and does not reflect the facts.
The dpa article from today: Critic on Wiggins: "That’s why we have the Paralympics"
At yesterday’s press conference in the German team hotel, the question was posed as to how to generally deal with the controversial medical exceptions (TUEs) for various medications in cycling. The name Wiggins was never mentioned at all in the question. In answering, Kittel made a comparison between disable sport and non-disabled sport, to make clear that there is a serious difference between a healthy world-class athlete and one who is ill and takes various medications.
The Bund Deutscher Radfahrer and Marcel Kittel distance themselves as strongly as possible from this dpa article. Marcel Kittel says: "I distance myself entirely from this report which takes things totally out of context and say again very clearly that I have the greatest respect for the performance of the disabled athletes."
We publish here the transcript of the recorded answer as it was spoken.
Marcel Kittel: "If someone has serious asthma, they do not belong in high-performance sport. The Paralympics were introduced so that those with one leg could have the chance to compare themselves against others. It is logical that they would not have a chance against those with all their limbs. But they have the chance to measure themselves against others on the same level. If someone has serious breathing problems, then for me he does not belong in that group, because he needs help. Disclosing that is difficult because it involves privacy issues. That is very important in Germany. I believe that athletes generally make themselves very transparent and so you can forestall it all and say, Ok, if someone has a bad asthma attack, then he either can’t be a high-performance athlete because it is chronic, or if it just happens occasionally, then he has to leave that competition. If I crash and break my collarbone, I can also take 100 pain pills, but I am in fact ill and have to abandon the race."