Planet 224

Mike Parker reviews
Dark Mermaids
by Anne Lauppe-Dunbar

Dark Mermaids

Seren, £9.99

To take second place in the Olympics medal table is some major achievement, as an increasingly hysterical ‘Team GB’ media reminded us throughout this summer’s games. If it’s good going for a country of sixty million, it is extraordinary for one of seventeen, the size of the Netherlands or Guatemala. Yet in the 1970s and ’80s, this was the story of East Germany, der DDR, a nation that had competed separately only since the Mexico games of 1968. In the enemy’s back yard of Munich 1972, the DDR vaulted above its western sibling, and stayed there for the remainder of its days. In Montreal 1976, Moscow 1980 and Seoul 1988 (Warsaw Pact countries boycotted Los Angeles 1984), the medal table remained the same: 1st USSR, 2nd DDR. Neither country even existed by the time of the next games.

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