D.he jump to the top came unexpectedly. At some point, Lisa Zimmermann naturally wants to establish herself there. For this, the Roßdorferin toiled for several hours every day in the gymnasium. But she never thought that the 18-year-old would win a title at the German championships for active athletes this year.
Last Sunday she presented her flooring range in the Westfalenhalle in Dortmund in an expressive and elegant manner. Others from the elite of national female movement artists show higher difficulties. But some competitors who were ahead of the Hessin in the qualification had canceled their participation in the medal decision; Zimmermann, who only came to her lecture as a replacement in the first place, was able to leave the others behind.
“Words fail me,” said the happy winner, commenting on her success, which had preceded second place in the jump the day before. The double precious metal alleviated the disappointment over an all-around match with mistakes that did not satisfy the ambitious athlete. The 2019 European Championship finalist had in mind to recommend herself for this first national qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. After a seventh place in the four-way fight, she almost wrote off this possibility; only one quartet forms the ranks for the major event in Japan.
On Tuesday, Zimmermann had to say goodbye to the rest of the hope: The left foot, which the participant in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires was still painful for after an operation in December, should go under the knife again. An adhesion that has only now been discovered could be to blame for the fact that the joint does not come to rest.
The second and decisive test for the nomination of the Olympic selection of the German Gymnastics Federation, which will be held in Munich on Saturday, will take place without a carpenter. The pupil’s focus is now on a possible use at the World Championships in Kitakyushu in October and, in the long term, on the next Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. “I still have time,” Lisa Zimmermann says, encouraging herself.
The preparation for the competition season was anything but ideal this time. Not only because of the injury that forced her to make the daily exercise program dependent on the respective complaints. The young sportswoman has been under heavy psychological strain for six months.
After the Talent moved to Chemnitz in 2017 because there was no longer any sufficiently qualified coaching staff available at her previous base in Frankfurt, she was able to develop rapidly under head coach Gabriele Frehse and the perfect conditions in Saxony and matured to become a national gymnast. Last November, the news magazine Der Spiegel reported for the first time on allegations of the former balance beam world champion Pauline Schäfer and other gymnasts against Frehse.
It was about mental humiliation, training in pain, and giving prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription. Lisa Zimmermann knew that this would not be without consequences. Gabriele Frehse continues to write her the training plans and stands twice a week with a school teacher in the hall due to a training instructor contract. Her main employer, the Olympic base, gave her notice on April 30th. The top athletes will be looked after by the remaining coaches. “Because of the smaller gymnasts, they don’t have that much time,” says Zimmermann. The older ones often correct themselves on the balance beam among themselves.
“Nobody can replace them”
Federal youth trainer Claudia Schunk travels time and again to support the team athletes, and the active ones are also invited to Frankfurt for courses that do not correspond to their age group. “A lot is done to ensure that we are well,” says Lisa Zimmermann. Also on the part of the teachers in the boarding school and other staff.
But she no longer feels as safe as she used to be. “On bad days, Gabi knows exactly what to say to make it a good workout after all,” says the hardworking worker. “No one can replace her.” She does not share the prosecutor’s experience. You can only speak for yourself. There were also “problems” between her and Frehse. “But I went there after training and we got her out of the world.”
Lisa Zimmermann can understand that the DTB “had to take action” after the serious allegations. But she would have liked “another solution”. She does not want to give up the belief that Gabriele Frehse, who is taking legal action against her dismissal, will be able to return to the hall at some point. “I became successful with Gabi and would therefore like to continue on the path with her.”