Giant on the move
Germans grieve with lovelorn lifter
When super-heavyweight lifter Matthias Steiner won his first Olympic gold medal, he kissed a photo of the woman he had buried in her wedding dress last year.
The hulking German’s tale of love and loss has moved millions of viewers around the world, and the image of Steiner holding up the photo of Susann, who died after a car crash, was splashed across German websites on Wednesday.
“The first thing I’ll do when I get home is visit her grave,” German media quoted the 25-year-old Steiner as saying. “I’m never able to stay around her grave for long because it hurts so much. Susann was and is my great love.”
Their love story started with a remote control. Susann was flicking through TV channels and happened upon a weightlifting contest. She saw Steiner, a grizzly bear of a man, and was instantly smitten.
She e-mailed him, he agreed to meet her, and she took the train to Austria where he was living at the time. They fell in love at first sight.
Soon, Steiner applied for German citizenship and the two started saving up so Susann could accompany him to Beijing. But a car crash just before Susann’s 23rd birthday shattered those plans. She was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery, but never regained consciousness. Steiner pledged at her bedside that he would make their Olympic dream come true.
“His gold has touched our hearts,” sighed tabloid Bild on its website. Other media called him the “sad colossus” after Steiner, whose German citizenship only came through at the beginning of this year, claimed the unofficial title of strongest man in the world.