German Shot Put Champ Has Sex Change After Steroids Changed Her Body Forever

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Andreas Krieger, born Heidi Krieger, competed as a woman in the 1986 European Championships in Athletics. She ultimately won a gold medal in the shot put event.

Coaches of the East German team SC Dynamo Berlin doped Krieger systematically with anabolic steroids that changed her body forever.

“I still say today that they killed Heidi,” Kreiger said. “It’s difficult to say whether I would be Heidi today or not but I could have decided on my own ... I was thrown out of my gender.”

In the 1970s, the East German government planned to use performance-enhancing drugs to dominate Olympic sports, often giving athletes shots that they were told were natural supplements or vitamins. A testing laboratory -- which the government controlled -- near Dresden reportedly drug-tested athletes but did not penalize them.

The sheer size and aggressiveness of the East German athletes led to the International Olympic Committee starting drug-testing in the 1970s. East German shot putter Ilona Slupianek, who weighed over 200 pounds, tested positive for anabolic steroids in 1977 at the European Cup meeting in Helsinki. She was suspended for 12 months and was still able to compete at the European championships in Prague. In 1980, she won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Moscow.

At SC Dynamo, an East Berlin sports club, Krieger was doped by coaches unknowingly. By age 18 Krieger was developing masculine traits.

''The only thing I could do was sports,'' Krieger said. ''I got to travel, I received recognition. I got the feeling that I belonged. That's what I wanted, to belong. From my point of view, I deserved it. I had worked hard. To question whether these were hormones I was being given, I didn't ask or suspect.''

Krieger retired in 1990, in part because her body took so much punishment from lifting massive weights while on steroids. In 1997 she underwent sexual reassignment surgery to become a man.

In 2000, Kreiger testified against East German medical director Manfred Hoeppner stating that the drugs contributed to his transexuality.

Two doctors who work at the SC Dynamo Berlin were convicted in December 1998 for administering hormones to female swimmers who were underage from 1975 to 1984. Dr. Dieter Binus, who was chief of the national women’s team from 1976 to 1980, Dr. Bernd Pansold and four swimming coaches were charged with grievous bodily harm.

According to the Daily News, Pansold now works for Austrian energy drink company Red Bull. He leads a Thalgau training facility on the outskirts of Salzburg.

Steven Ungerleider, author of “Faust’s Gold: Inside the East German Doping Machine,” wrote that there was certified evidence given in court that the East German doctors knew of the deadly side effects of the drugs they secretly administered.

There are 500 to 2,000 athletes who now have health problems as a result of the doping. In 2002, after the end of criminal trials, a fund was set up for the victims, but only 311 athletes made claims before the cut off deadline. Kreiger was one of them.

''I have to accept that Heidi is part of my history,'' Andreas said. ''The more open I am, the less problems I have. Less than if I try to deny her.''

Kreiger married a former East German swimmer, Krause, who he met at the criminal trials.

Source: NY Daily News, NY Times