At first they didn't understand what the team manager wanted here and the national coach there.

Secret thing, silence!

Laura Ludwig thought of nothing good.

“I was on the bus after training, my team leader had called, top secret, I couldn't meet anyone else.

At first I had negative thoughts, the positive came much later. "

Anno Hecker

Responsible editor for sports.

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Flag bearer! When the German team marched in for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics on Friday, they ran up front, together with Patrick Hausding. The diver, the institution of his sport in Germany, didn’t even want to listen when he was called to a discussion of importance: “I was training at the time, so I said to my national trainer, 'No, it bites. But he said 'you have to go there'. Was worth it."

What an honor and proud she is, said the 35-year-old beach volleyball player from Berlin, Olympic champion of Rio 2016, and looked over at her flag partner on Thursday during the press conference in the Olympic Village in Tokyo: "Yes, that makes you proud," replied Hausding quasi synchronous, he knows his way around: "I said to myself, if it works, absolutely great, if not, ok, not many make it into the group of candidates."

So far there have been 53 flag bearers in the history of German Olympic teams (FRG, GDR and all-German teams). DOSB President Alfons Hörmann explained that a mixed duo can now show the flag with the gender policy of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “This decision is a novelty and important. The IOC has made gender equality a priority. In the past, we at DOSB have always been spoiled for choice. We were pleased to have the chance to name a woman and a man. "

The wording is not entirely correct. Because the Ludwig / Hausding couple is the result of an election in which Germany's Olympians and the public were allowed to take part. Both groups were equal. According to the DOSB, 185,000 people and 200 Olympic participants (of around 430) took part in the election. There were five athletes to choose from. Ludwig received 30.94 percent of all votes and won ten percent ahead of artistic gymnast Elisabeth Seitz (20.83) and Isabell Werth (18.39), the most successful dressage rider on this planet.

Hausding won razor-thin with a 0.07 percent lead over Andreas Toba, who was described as a "hero" five years ago in Rio because he took part in the gymnastics team competition despite an injury to enable his colleagues to perform. The “audience” rating (27.62) spoke clearly for him. The tiny difference was made by the Olympic riders' vote (“only” 17.54). "Damn close," said Hausding and looking at the selection system: "It couldn't be more democratic."

Two standard-bearers, but only one flag? The new diversity also at the top of the Olympic team still has to be coordinated in order to be able to work synchronously. But Ludwig thinks about letting Hausding do the bigger part of the swivel work. The 32-year-old Berliner, who was decorated with bronze in Rio, among other things, sees a lot of freedom: “It mustn't fall down or break, otherwise everything is allowed.” But don't sing, at least this order applied with a view to the efforts of the organizers, to minimize any risk of corona transmission as much as possible.

So what are the expectations of the experienced Olympic riders, both of whom are part of the team for the fourth time, leading the way to the opening ceremony? “It's a shame that so many negative words are used,” said Ludwig, “it's still the Olympic Games. I've heard that the sports facilities should be really great. The ceremony will be something special. It's about that we experience the Olympic feeling. We go in there together, as a team, that will inspire us. ”When asked whether it would not be a dreary performance without an audience, Ludwig indicated an initiative of his own:“ We'll create the mood ourselves. ”

How many German athletes will stand and leave behind Ludwig and Hausding was not yet clear on Thursday. DOSB President Hörmann reported on the abandonment of sailors and riders with a view to the distances and the upcoming competitions. As with previous games, the athletes are also allowed to shorten their visit significantly. The organizing committee would not be averse if the ranks quickly thinned.