According to the German Olympic Committee, Drygalla, who had at that point concluded her role at the Games as part of the women’s rowing team, left voluntarily after a lengthy discussion with German officials.
“Miss Drygalla confirmed credibly her commitment to the Olympic Charter,” Michael Vesper, the head of Germany’s Olympics committee stated. “She is leaving the Olympic Village so as not to be a burden for the team.”
Though German officials did not specify why the rower departed, referring only to information learned about her “private environment,” the German public broadcaster ARD reported that the 23-year-old former police officer was suspected of having sympathetic leanings toward right-wing extremist ideology. Drygalla’s beliefs were deduced from the fact that her boyfriend is a prominent member of the “Rostock National Socialists,” and had represented the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) in a state election.
Described by Germany’s intelligence agency as racist, anti-Semitic and inspired by the Nazis, the NPD’s local election campaigns regularly cast blame on the country’s immigrants for crime and unemployment. The organization’s supporters – who live in depressed areas of the country – are mostly unemployed young men with little education. The NPD has representatives in two state assemblies – the East German states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – but not in the federal parliament.
The German rowing federation stated that it was pleased with Drygalla’s decision.”We will have another conversation with Nadja Drygalla in August after the Olympic Games. After that we will decide together with her how to proceed,” said Siegfried Kaidel, the head of the federation.
A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee said that Drygalla was innocent of any wrongdoing at the Olympics: “There is no issue for us regarding the rower. I have seen the report,” he said. “But as far as the Games are concerned, she has not done anything wrong.”
Due to its history as the center of the Holocaust, Germany does not tolerate neo-Nazi ideology or expressions of anti-Semitism in mainstream politics.