LONDON – A German rower has ended her participation in the London Olympic Games after revelations that her boyfriend was a member of an extremist far-right party inspired by Nazis.
"Miss (Nadja) Drygalla confirmed credibly her commitment to the Olympic Charter," Michael Vesper, the head of the German Olympic Committee, said, Reuters reported.
"She is leaving the Olympic Village so as not to be a burden for the team."
The German Olympian quit the Games after revelations that her boyfriend was a leading member of the regional nationalist group “Rostock National Socialists”.
Media reports also revealed that the Olympian’s boyfriend had fought a state election for the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD).
The NPD is described by Germany’s intelligence agency as a racist, anti-Semitic party inspired by the Nazis.
The party’s local election campaigns blame immigrants for crime and unemployment and its supporters are mostly unemployed young men with little education in depressed areas of the east.
The far-right party is represented in two state assemblies - the east German states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - but not in the federal parliament.
One attempt to ban the NPD failed in 2003 after witnesses were exposed as intelligence agency informants.
Drygalla, who is a former police trainee, had already finished competing at the Games as part of the women's rowing-eight team.
The state interior ministry in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania said it learned last year that Drygalla’s acquaintances included people who belong to the far-right scene.
A ministry statement said that “intensive talks” were held with Drygalla and she resigned from the force last September.
Some media reports said that the 23-year-old former police officer was suspected of sympathizing with right-wing extremist ideology.
"We will have another conversation with Nadja Drygalla in August after the Olympic Games,” Siegfried Kaidel, the head of the German rowing federation said in a statement.
“After that we will decide together with her how to proceed.”
Hostility against immigrants, especially Muslims, has grown recently in Germany.
Last year, Germany was shocked with the discovery of the killing of ten immigrants, including nine Turks, by a neo-Nazi cell between 2000 and 2007.
Authorities only discovered the cell by chance late last year.
Mark Adams, spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, said Drygalla had done nothing wrong at the Games.
"There is no issue for us regarding the rower. I have seen the report. But as far as the Games are concerned, she has not done anything wrong."
This is not the first time an Olympians is forced to leave the London Olympics over racist attitudes.Ahead of the Games opening, Greek triple jumper Voulu Papachristou was expelled from her national team for a racist tweet.
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