Sport4All – Motivating Young And Old To Be Active

Deutscher Turner-Bund Joins ICSSPE
08/04/2021 19:18
ICSSPE met Annette Hofmann from the German Gymnastics Federation (Deutscher Turner-Bund) to talk about the variety of projects the Federation is involved in and the cultural significance of gymnastics in Germany.
ICSSPE: Could you please introduce yourself and the Deutscher Turner-Bund? 
Hofmann: My name is Annette Hofmann; I am one of the Vice Presidents of the German Gymnastics Federation (DTB), the oldest sport federation in Germany. With 5 million members, the DTB is the second largest sports association – both in Germany and internationally. The movement culture “turnen” goes back to the gymnastics movement initiated by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in 1811. In 2023, the DTB can celebrate its 175th anniversary. Different from the past, today 70 percent of the DTB's members are female, which also makes the DTB the largest women's sport association.
The German Gymnastics Federation unites members in over 20 sports and about 20.000 clubs. Our activities can be divided into the following areas: competitive gymnastics (including elite sports), children's gymnastics (Kinderturnen) and activities under the mantle of "Gymwelt". The latter includes among others health orientated activities, general fitness classes and special offers for seniors – in short: Sport4All.
ICSSPE: Can you briefly tell us about the organisation's current projects?
Hofmann: The core of our activities is the gymnastics festival with up to 100,000 participants, which we organise and hold every 4 years. We have been continuing this tradition since 1860 and the International German Gymnastics Festival (Internationales Deutsches Turnfest, “Turnfest”) has become the largest "Sport4All Festival" in the world. Participants attend from all around the globe. We regularly have guests not only from our neighbours Austria, Switzerland, and Denmark as well as from remote countries such as the United States of America, Argentina and Japan. We offer, for instance, competitions in their gymnastic related sports, there are show elements, participation activities and German Championships. In our DTB Academy during the Turnfest, we provide further education on topics related to our sport and activity offers as well as seminars for coaches and other interested people. 
Although the Turnfest unfortunately had to be cancelled this year, the DTB Academy 2021 will take place online. 
On the topic of further education, we also actively cooperate with other organisations, for example, we have created a prevention programme against sexualised violence for the area of "children's gymnastics" in cooperation with the German Olympic Sports Confederation (Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund, DOSB), which is now a permanent component of coach training and any volunteer in a club. 
In the area of recreational sports, we are involved in health sports (HEPA and Health enhancing physical exercises) with the quality seal "Pluspunkt Gesundheit" in cooperation with the health system for preventive health offers in sports clubs.  And not to forget, we have our Olympians. It is an ongoing project to seek out new talents, offer training opportunities and promote top-level sport.
ICSSPE: How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your work in Germany?
Hofmann: In the last few months, it has not been possible to offer activities and sports courses for groups and as physical events in our association, which has more than 20,000 members. Only elite athletes were and are able to train. 
ICSSPE: What solutions or adaptations have you found?
Hofmann: Here we have jointly developed online training programmes to offer athletes other opportunities to be active and stay healthy during the Corona related closures. Sport and physical activity programmes were streamed or video-conferenced across various platforms.
We organised a Think Tank (Denkwerkstatt), a kind of workshop in which we exchanged ideas with representatives of our state federations, schools, politics, the Child Protection League and the church. Among others, to discuss the situation and find solutions on how the German Gymnastics Federation could support its clubs and members to be active under the circumstances, but also how to support physical activities in nursing schools and schools. Other major issues were digitalisation and how to keep our volunteers during the Corona pandemic.
Click here for the Think Tank video (language: German).
ICSSPE: Can you tell us something about the goals and visions of the German Gymnastics Federation? 
Hofmann: In addition to the concerns described above, we are of course also very interested in reappraising the cultural significance of gymnastics, called “turnen”. This includes many historical topics, such as the connection between the gymnastics movement and the beginnings of the democracy movement in Germany in 1848. We organise seminars and publish on the topic, we do have a library and an archive to take care of. To honour the past we support clubs in organising their anniversary celebrations, some of which are over 200 years old.
We also honour social commitment and courage of our active athletes through the Flatow Medal. This medal is dedicated to the two Olympic champions of 1896 Alfred and Gustav Felix Flatow, who were murdered during the period of National Socialism in a concentration camp. The Flatow Medal, dedicated to the two cousins, has been awarded since 1987 to dedicated gymnasts who stand out for their sporting successes and their personality. “Stolpersteine” were laid in front of the houses of both gymnasts to commemorate the history of the two Olympic champions. “Stolpersteine” literally translates as “stumbling stones” –are plaques to remember the victims of Nazi Germany.
ICSSPE: What are your plans and goals? 
Hofmann: Our goal is to motivate as many people (young and old) as possible to be physically active and take part in the sport offers of our clubs. We see sport and exercise as a way to promote the health of the population and a way of socializing. Therefore, we are committed to Sport4All. 
Certainly, we also have Olympic goals. In high-performance sport, the athletes of the DTB represent Germany in international competitions. They compete successfully with gymnasts in artistic gymnastics, trampoline and rhythmic gymnastics from all over the world.
We also see the social role that sport has, for example, sport can contribute to the integration of women and people with a migration background. We are strongly committed to these goals. 
We are also always planning our Turnfests. “After a Turnfest is before a Turnfest”. Once one is over, we already have to start planning the next event which not only includes the activity offers, competitions and shows, but it is also a huge logistic challenge to bring the many thousands visitors to our Turnfests, offer them schools to sleep, feed them and so on. Our next big event will be held in Leipzig 2025. All ICSSPE members are welcome!
ICSSPE: As a new ICSSPE member, what do you envision for future cooperation with ICSSPE? 
Hofmann: We are looking forward to enlarge our international network and engage in exchange especially with those members who promote physical activity and sport. As an association, we would like to present our work internationally and inspire other members. We are looking forward to participate in international projects.