After suffering a frightening leg injury which may keep her off the slopes through most of 2013, Lindsey Vonn has most recently been making headlines for dating Tiger Woods. However, a new report indicates the spotlight may soon shift back to the two-time Olympic medalists’ athletic achievements.
According to The New York Daily News, Vonn met with German doctor Bernd Pansold at Red Bull’s diagnostic and training center in Thalgau, Austria while Vonn was there rehabbing her injury. Pansold is known to have played a very large role in the systematic doping of young German Democratic Republic athletes without their consent, in what has been described as a crime against humanity. Many of those given hard anabolic steroids in what was known as State Plan 14.25 suffered brutal, permanent injuries.
Pansold is one of many doctors to participate in the program, but he was at the core of formulating a plan to build unhealthy levels of muscle mass in female swimmers through doping. Pansold oversaw such operations in the 1970s and ’80s, which pumped girls, including at least one as young as 13, with the toxic steroid Oral Turinabol without their knowledge. The girls in that program suffered “irreversibly deepened voices, liver tumors, disturbed ovulation cycles and an extreme increase in face and body hair growth.”
The Daily News’ report flatly states that it has uncovered no evidence that Vonn has ever taken PEDs, but the fact that Red Bull employees a doctor with Pansold’s history — and then allows him access to a high-profile Olympic athlete — is disturbing at best. Pansold was convicted by a criminal court in 1998 for “aiding and abetting assault.”
Vonn has been sponsored by Red Bull since 2005, and many athletes make use of the Austrian clinic for training and rehab purposes. Vonn’s publicist confirmed that Vonn has visited the clinic, but denied that she had ever worked directly with Pansold. However, Pansold, himself, seems to know Vonn better than the “courtesy hellos” described by her publicist.
“A very nice girl,” Pansold told the Daily News. “She visits here twice a year.”
Pansold said that he does not work directly with Vonn. However, he did claim he’s had influence over her work through her personal trainer, who he’s advised.