U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn has apparently been linked to a notorious German doctor convicted of doping East German athletes from 1975 to 1984. Vonn, 28, has made several visits to the Red Bull-owned Diagnostics and Training Centre in Austria run by the infamous Dr. Bernd Pansold.
Pansold, 71, was convicted in 1998 of committing “grievous bodily harm” to underage female athletes by giving them shots containing anabolic steroids, while telling them they were just vitamins and natural supplements. Many of the athletes suffer harmful side affects and injuries even today, with their bodies having been irreparably changed by the shots.
The Daily News reported the link between Vonn and Pansold, but did not uncover any evidence that she used performance-enhancing drugs.
Each year the World Cup alpine skier undergoes a rigorous training program at Red Bull’s pro soccer team facility near Salzburg and the Diagnostics and Training Centre in Thalgau.
In the 1970s, the East German state used performance-enhancing drugs in an attempt to dominate Olympic sports. The size and aggressiveness of the East German athletes led to the International Olympic Committee starting drug-testing in the 1970s. A testing laboratory -- which the government controlled -- near Dresden reportedly drug-tested athletes but did not penalize them.
Andreas Krieger, born Heidi Krieger, who won the gold medal in shot put in the 1986 European Championships in Athletics, has since had sexual reassignment surgery due to the systematic injections of anabolic steroids she unwittingly received from coaches. It changed Krieger’s 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.”
“It was forbidden to refuse,” an ex-swimmer, Christiane Knacke-Sommer, testified in Berlin. “The pills and the shots, they destroyed me physically and emotionally.”
Pansold was one of hundreds of doctors who helped the East German state secretly carry out the doping procedure. There are 500 to 2,000 athletes who now have health problems as a result of those actions.
Vonn’s publicist denied she had ever said “more than a courtesy hello” to Pansold.
Pansold told the Daily Mail that Vonn was a “very nice girl,” who works mostly with Red Bull trainer, Martin Hager.
“She visits here twice a year,” Pansold said.