To find the most prominent name of the Green candidate for the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt, you have to look up to number nine on the list. There it is: Ex-swimming star Antje Buschschulte (42).
She won five Olympic bronze medals, as well as two world and six European champions. And soon to be a professional politician? On June 6th she jumps into deep water again. But that’s a lot colder than when they were active.
BILD: What is the bigger construction site: federal politics or the German Swimming Association?
Bush shoulder: “The more important is of course federal politics. But I am not concerned with either one or the other, because I want to go into state politics. Swimming is still an affair of the heart. “
BILD: Where is the competition tougher: in politics or in competitive sports?
Bush shoulder: “These are two completely different worlds and there is competition within parties too. But it’s more like water polo: there is also competition for places in the team that then plays. In the end it is still a team, just like in the party. In swimming you are solely responsible for your performance. Obviously it is more difficult to get an Olympic medal than a state parliament or a Bundestag mandate. “
BILD: In sport, an Olympic medal was your goal, what do you want to achieve in politics?
Bush shoulder: “I don’t have such a goal there. I am not repeating my previous life in politics. It’s a completely different drive. I got into sport as a child. After my career I became a biologist, did my doctorate in neurobiology and only got to know politics when I was the office manager of Rainer Robra, the head of the state chancellery. Straight from sport to politics, the idea would never have occurred to me. I had hardly any contact with this world. I would never have dared to stand on the market square and hand out flyers. “
BILD: Well …
Bush shoulder: “Yes, it is part of it and you can learn it. I was just at the point where I wanted to help decide something. I just wanted to be the one who does something and doesn’t just ask why Saxony-Anhalt is behind in this or that relationship. Many things can only be changed politically. “
BILD: Was there THAT one point where you said: I’m doing politics now?
Bush shoulder: “The state election in Thuringia. The story of the FDP prime minister election with AfD votes. That was so confused and then this amazing result of the AfD, which for me was no longer a coincidence and no longer a protest election. So I thought: I still have a little bit of familiarity in Magdeburg and Saxony-Anhalt. Democracy lives from participating. Act instead of react. “
BILD: With what intention?
Bush shoulder: “Maybe you can win back a few of those who push political frustration and turn away, which of course will be a very long-term affair. Six years ago, after joining the Greens, I began to specialize in digitization. I can contribute expertise here. This is sometimes a niche topic, but an important one. “
BILD: You worked for a CDU man for a long time. Did he scare you so much that you went straight to the Greens?
Bush shoulder: (laughs) “No, not at all. It was a totally factual collaboration, there was only seldom party contact. Therefore there is no contradiction and the Greens are also in the coalition. But some were surprised that I’m with the Greens. Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff also asked when I would join the CDU. “
BILD: What are your chances of getting into the state parliament?
Bush shoulder: “Let’s see whether we can have the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen upswing here as well. In Saxony-Anhalt it’s more of a small wave. The prognoses are good for me to come in, but prognoses are prognoses. To get back to swimming: My trainer Bernd Henneberg always said: ‘If you do the math beforehand, you do the math twice “and” The ducks are getting fat on their asses.’ Let’s wait.”
BILD: Is Annalena Baerbock the right candidate for Chancellor?
Bush shoulder: “Yes, but I also like Robert Habeck. I can get something from both of them. Habeck is fascinating, has what it takes. I like people who are a little bit philosophical. In addition to the current one, I’ve also read an apolitical book by him. Annalena Baerbock is said to have been very well prepared in green circles. She is a good choice. “
BILD: Doesn’t Baerbock’s inexperience bother you?
Bush shoulder: “I’ve seen how to run a ministry. This is not rocket science. I also entrust Annalena Baerbock with the chancellery. Sure, there are advantages to having political experience from the executive branch, but there are enough examples in the world that it can also be done without it, see Barack Obama. I don’t know whether that should be a decisive criterion, just like age, by the way. “
BILD: Do you have any ambitions in terms of federal politics?
Bush shoulder: “My plans don’t go that far. Perhaps my political career will end on June 6th. I would never say never, but not at all right now. Even with a family with three daughters and a doctor as a man who works 24/7, I couldn’t do that. “
BILD: You are very emotional and you speak clearly. Can the journalists look forward to the politician Buschschulte?
Bush shoulder: “I’m emotional and I can’t keep up with it. But I don’t want to be one of those people who are in a meeting with their cell phone and whistle everything hot as a breeze. I’m not like that and I don’t want to be. I’ve always been honest in sport and I want to be honest in politics too. “
BILD: What can you take with you from competitive sport into politics?
Bush shoulder: “It made me a little more relaxed because I had to endure a lot of pressure and tension at the time. A life always in wave form, from very deep below to very high above, rarely in the middle, that is an experience that shapes. This makes me extremely resilient and since my early youth I have been very good at managing my time and separating the important from the unimportant. “
BILD: Does your name still help you sometimes?
Bush shoulder: “To the extent that it is a great way to start a conversation. And the name exudes a certain authority. Nobody’s been stupid to me yet. In contrast to other women, I never had the problem of not being taken seriously. “
BILD: Her husband Helge Meeuw, also once a very good swimmer, is a doctor. How will his life change when you sit in the state parliament?
Bush shoulder: “You no longer have to travel somewhere for every conversation. A lot goes through switching conferences, as Corona has shown. But Helge will go down with the working hours. When he has his specialist, he will be freer. With a baby I would have had problems managing politics, but the girls are four, seven and ten years old, we can do that with daycare and after-school care. “
BILD: What would you recommend to your daughters, politics or competitive sports?
Bush shoulder: “I don’t know if swimming with parents like us would be too much of a burden for them. That would be a big backpack. I just want them to be happy. If they’re talented for whatever, it’s incredibly satisfying to act out. You are welcome to do that and we would support it. “
BILD: Would you let your daughters come to Fridays for Future?
Bush shoulder: “The life I lead politicizes them more than it makes them swim. Children often do what their parents set an example, and that doesn’t mean swimming for us. We saw the inside of the emergency room more often than the swimming pool, to get dad to eat or to say goodnight. On the other hand, I cannot give the children a lecture on parliamentary democracy. But the big one asks what I’m actually doing there. But it is still too small for Fridays for future. If she wants to go there out of conviction, not to skip school, I would like that. “
BILD: How do you see the situation in German swimming?
Bush shoulder: “Since I’ve known the DSV, a big name has never dared to venture into it. Alumni experience was simply not used. There was only a reaction if problems arose in the media before a major event, but where you actually had to work, after the major event, little was done at the time. “
BILD: What problems do you see?
Bush shoulder: “The structure sometimes bites. If voluntary state officials from popular sport want to make sport-related decisions for high-performance sport, I deny them their competence. You have to talk a lot and spend a lot of time together. Otherwise it is not possible to jointly define a uniform direction. “
BILD: Michael Groß was the last name that was talked about and then didn’t become sports director.
Bush shoulder: “What happened in the public image was totally unprofessional. That shouldn’t have happened to the association. Especially not shortly before the Olympics. With a matter discussed in public like this, you have to issue a press release. But that nothing comes and Michael then has to say when asked that the association has canceled him, it doesn’t work that way. Michael Gross is one of our very greatest. In the current situation he would have done the association incredibly well. “
BILD: So what has to happen?
Bush shoulder: “We have to agree whether we want competitive sport at all. I would like to discuss this in depth with representatives from sport and politicians who say that they like to promote competitive sport. To say that medals are not that important, but then only to be photographed with medal winners is not possible. Then I have to be photographed with the sixth and tenth. “