Wednesday 11th August 2021
Schleu defends himself against hatred
“I am not aware of any cruelty to animals”
It is a moment that will be remembered for a long time: At the Olympic Games in Tokyo, modern pentathlete Annika Schleu tried desperately to drive a shy horse with a whip. It fails. The sportswoman still does not let go of what happens afterwards.
Even just under a week after her Olympic riding drama, modern pentathlete Annika Schleu has to struggle with the consequences. “The past few days have been shocking for me in several ways,” said the 31-year-old in an interview with the weekly newspaper “Die Zeit”. “The hatred I encountered on social media, however, masked the disappointment about the missed medal.”
She has therefore shut down her social media activities. “I’m almost ready to say that it is more important to me to cope with it mentally than to generate sponsors,” said the Berliner: “I don’t want to have to expose myself to this hatred.” She added, “Once you’ve experienced something like me, it’s very difficult to recover.” She felt humiliated by the pictures that showed her crying on the horse.
After finishing fourth at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, Schleu missed a medal in Tokyo because the horse she had been given refused to ride. After two disciplines, the athlete was still clearly on the gold course. Schleu remained without points in the riding and finished 31st in the end. Schleu and national trainer Kim Raisner had to take a lot of criticism for their behavior during the competition. Schleu had used the whip to drive the horse at the request of Raisner (“Hit it, hit it right!”). Because Raisner had also hit the horse with her fist, she was expelled from the world federation and had to leave Tokyo early.
Disappointment about world association presidents
Schleu defended himself again against the accusation of having tormented her horse in the competition. “I didn’t treat the horse extremely harshly. I had a crop with me that was checked beforehand. Just like the spurs. I’m really not aware of any cruelty to animals,” said Schleu. In retrospect, she “could have reacted a bit calmer and more prudent”, she admitted, “you just don’t have that much time in the competitive situation, in the stress. And I might have been able to say earlier, okay, it just doesn’t have any Worth.”
Schleu was disappointed by the reaction of the German World Federation President Klaus Schormann: “I was definitely left alone by the World Federation. Klaus Schormann didn’t even speak to me, I only know the press releases.” The Berliner still leaves it open whether she will also take part in the Games in Paris in three years after her Olympic participation in London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and Tokyo.