BERLIN: “Even the Kazakhs are laughing at us,” screamed mass circulation Bild on its front page under an Olympics medal table showing sporting powerhouse Germany with nothing to show for its efforts.
“Man (and woman), are we bad,” adds the paper, Europe's most widely read, following a string of disappointments culminating in world record-holder swimmer Paul Biedermann's failure to qualify for the 400m freestyle final.
“It's a total false start in London. Instead of the five or six medals we expected, we've got none. Even the Kazakhs are laughing. They've already got two golds,” complained Bild.
“While everyone else is celebrating, we've just got long faces.”
Tongue-in-cheek, the paper went on to claim that US swimming sensation Ryan Lochte's gold medal in the 400m medley “belongs a bit to us,” noting that he has a German great-great-great grandfather.
The Frankfurter Rundschau also ran with “false start” on its front page, noting that German athletes had until now been “below expectations.”
“Medals, where are you?” asked news weekly Spiegel on its website.
It quotes the head of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Michael Vesper, as saying: “We are not satisfied and we are disappointed. It would have been better if we had had some success, but you can't change what's happened.”
Germany was fifth in the medal table at the last Olympic Games in Beijing, netting 16 gold, 10 silver and 15 bronze medals.
And the press continued to hold out hope, noting that their first medal in China also came on the third day.
“It's got to happen sometime,” cried Spiegel.