Olympics 2012: German Rower Exits Games Amid Nazi Allegations
News that women's eight rower Nadja Drygalla was linked to a far-right politician drew broad coverage across German news media.
A German rower has left the Olympics amid allegations she has links to a member of Germany's neo-Nazi scene.
Nadja Drygalla, a member of the German women's eights rowing team, left the Olympic village in London and returned home Thursday night. Her team missed out on the final in the event, which was won by Team U.S.A..
The 23-year-old Drygalla is believed to be in a relationship with Michael Fischer a member of the far-right political party the NPD. Fischer is also alleged to be a member of the neo-Nazi group Nationale Sozialisten Rostock.
The German Rowing Association and Michael Vesper, general secretary of Germany's Olympic Association, said Friday they spoke with Drygalla after the allegations emerged and she agreed to leave the Olympic village.
"At the end of our conversation, Ms. Drygalla said she would leave the Olympic village in order to prevent any burden to the (German) Olympic team," Vesper said. "I welcomed that." The German Rowing Association said it would investigate the claims.
The news quickly spread across online and broadcast media in Germany. Public broadcaster NDR unearthed reports linking Drygalla to neo-Nazi as far back as March of last year.
Olympic rowing is a ratings winner in Germany. So far this Olympics, the rowing events have delivered two gold medals - in the Mens Eights and Men's Quadruple Sculls and a silver in the Women's Quadruple Sculls for Team Germany.
Drygalla was training to be a police office in her home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern but left the police last September. In a statement on Friday, the state's interior ministry confirmed she left her job voluntarily after she was questioned regarding her contacts to known right-wing extremists.