Former East German Swim Officials Fined -- August 30, 1998
BERLIN - Two former East German doctors and a coach who confessed to systematically giving performance-boosting drugs to female swimmers in the 1970s and '80s were convicted of causing bodily harm. All were spared prison time and got off with fines. Charges were dropped against two coaches. The five admitted giving anabolic steroids to the swimmers, some as young as 12 at the time, as part of the former communist country's state-sponsored drive to create Olympic champions. But all denied they knowingly damaged the health of the swimmers, saying they knew little about possible side-effects. Although the defendants could have received up to 3 years in prison, the court imposed only fines: $15,000 for Dr. Ulrich Suender, who distributed the pills to the team doctors; $4,000 for former team doctor Dorit Roesler; and $3,900 to former coach Peter Mattonet. The court said it went easy on the three because they had confessed and apologized to the swimmers affected. The court dropped the charges against coaches Berndt Christochowitz and Klaus Klemenz.