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German Olympic chief: focus on passion, character, not medals By Andreas Schirmer, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - The number of medals won at the Olympics is less important than the manner of the way German athletes present themselves in Rio de Janeiro, German Olympic chief Alfons Hoermann tells dpa in an interview.

The 423-strong German team has arrived in Rio seeking to match their medals haul of 44 achieved in London in 2012, but Hoermann, president of the German Olympic Sports Association DOSB, said that in the wake of the Russian doping scandal it made no sense to focus on just winning.

"Especially in times like these the focus should be less on metal (gold, silver and bronze), but maybe again more on character, heart and passion" he told dpa ahead of Friday‘s opening ceremony.

"We want first of all to be exemplary ambassadors for our country. Whether it be some more or fewer medals is secondary in this respect."

Germany have traditionally been among the most successful nations at the Olympics. Since the 1992 Games in Barcelona, the first following German unification, Germany has never been out of the top six in the final medals standings.

Hoermann said Germany would celebrate every medal won in Rio but in view of the doping discussion ahead of the Games, "other values ¿¿for the Olympic team are in the foreground rather than the absolute number of medals."

The priority instead should be on injury-free and scandal-free competition across the 28 sports because "success at all costs should not be the measure of all things."

Hoermann said he would not exclude the possibility that the absence of leading Russian athletes might make it easier for others to win medals, but there are "to date no calculations or predictions." Russia won 82 medals at the 2012 Games.

He is however confident the German team is clean as it gears up for the Games, with the doping control system working effectively.

"We are working through NADA (National Anti-Doping Agency) and with the great commitment of our (sports) federations and with strict controls 365 days and nights. And I have no doubt that it will be successfully implemented," he said.

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