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Former East German Athletes Seeking Legal Redress -- March 2, 2000

Berlin, Germany - Seven athletes who competed for former East Germany are seeking legal redress against doctors and coaches for forcing them to take banned performance-enhancing drugs. The seven, who come from several disciplines, have asked Berlin prosecutors to launch an investigation, saying the drugs caused them bodily harm, Der Spiegel wrote in a report released ahead of publication on Monday.

Among the seven was former swimmer Jutta Gottschalk, whose daughter became blind in one eye. According to the magazine, Gottschalk claims the handicap resulted from being given steroids while competing for the former communist state.

Several doctors and coaches have already been convicted for their role in the systematic doping policy conducted by East Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. Others are currently under investigation and more trials are expected to follow.