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Esportes e Lazer / 18/06/2020

Pioneer and icon of sport and the fight against machismo: the deep legacy of Marlene Ahrens

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Pioneer and icon of sport and the fight against machismo: the deep legacy of Marlene Ahrens

Fonte La Tercera

With an innate talent, the athlete traveled through various disciplines and functions and in all she stood out for her remarkable human qualities, in times being a woman, mother and athlete was not a frequent path.

The figure of Marlene Ahrens (Concepción, July 27, 1933-Santiago, June 17, 2020) is one of the largest that Chilean sport has conceived. The only Olympic medalist in history and a person who was known for her remarkable human qualities. Owner of a unique determination and rectitude that were always accompanied by great warmth and kindness, virtues that under no circumstances disappeared. Its name is due to the German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich, another muse.

An anecdote that portrays her absolutely happened in 1956, after obtaining the celebrated silver medal in Melbourne. Pepe Nava, a pseudonym that the journalist José María Navasal used in the Estadio Magazine, reported the athlete's claims because she had been excessively praised and felt that she did not deserve such praise.

"Marlene Ahrens has class and we wrote it. But we said more. We explained that, on the court, with her blonde hair blowing in the wind, her legs thrown in a swift race and her arms outstretched in the movement of the most classic of tests, we had seemed a personification of athletic sport. What the Greeks dreamed of worshiping beauty; what the Romans pointed out as the human ideal, when speaking of ‘mens sana in corpore sana’. To Marlene those words seemed exaggerated and she protested. For a few days we had a friendly epistolary and telephone controversy with the champion. And she, trying to dissuade us, convinced us more every day. Because the class is not only on the track or the field. It is part of the whole life. And her sensible letters, her serene words, overflowed class ”, wrote the remembered chronicler, who years later and already dedicated to international commentary, would be a partner on Channel 13 of Karin Ebensperger, the first-born of the athlete.

Precisely the birth of the future journalist occurred a year before Ahrens' Olympic achievement, at a time when being a woman, mother and athlete was very rare and compatible. But encouraged by her husband Jorge Ebensperger, the muse of Chilean sports reached the jabilina. “I used to play hockey and every year when the season ended we would go to the beach. Then I started throwing rocks into the sea and my husband saw that he was doing it even further than the men. He observed that there was an innate pitcher there and he recommended me to the Club Manquehue coach. That's how everything started, ”he recounted in an interview with La Tercera, when he turned 80 in 2013.

Her end in athletics was very abrupt. When she was preparing to participate in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, a sanction deprived her of her third date. "I was suspended for a year on the eve of the Games, due to statements that appeared in the Clarín newspaper and that I denied. I asked the journalist to go to the Federation to say what I pointed out and what he reproduced. They punished me the same, "he said, and then uncovered the real reason, a case of sexual harassment:" The president of the Olympic Committee (Alberto Labra) had blood on my eye with me. All because when we went to the 1959 Chicago Pan American Championship, he overstepped and I stopped him. So when he was elected, he grabbed those statements and there was no case. "

“The 64 I retired and I did not want to know anything else about athletics. When the year passed, I appealed with evidence, they put a commission chosen by them and in the end they said that it was not worth the punishment. But so that he did not have to resign the board, they put the ruling to a vote and worked the votes. They did not let me expose my part, it was a flawed vote. And there I said ‘never again’, ”he said about the end of his career.

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