At first, I wondered how they could possibly have overheard private, one-on-one conversations.It’s possible they somehow used the music consoles at the side of the rink.And, perhaps more importantly, it was clear that none of my family and none of my close friends had ever been informers.Understandably, people ask what, if anything, I knew at the time, and seem surprised when they hear the answer: I suspected little, or nothing.In my case, there were boxes of them – boxes upon boxes – 3,000 meticulously compiled pages, all now stored in the official archive. There, in front of me, was a detailed account of my life since childhood compiled by anonymous informers, a diary of my entire existence.
I must have spent five hours trying to find an outfit I could afford.In fact, while the party bosses could never have known it, I would never, ever have left my family in that way.My coach, Frau (Jutta) Mueller, bore no responsibility, but it’s clear that there must have been other people at the ice rink who were dealing with the authorities.Then, when I was older, I was effectively a full-time sportswoman, concentrating on very little outside the ice rink. Today in Germany, some young skaters will practise no more than three hours a day after school.There were times when I spent seven hours a day on the ice, three hours just on the compulsory ‘figures’ (the technical turns and circles that form the basis of skating technique). I still have more respect for her than anyone else in the world yet, although we were close, she was still capable of taking me to the limits of what I could stand mentally and physically. She knew I didn’t like an empty ice rink, for example (who wants to flirt with concrete walls?I’d met a male friend and after a long conversation we’d stayed quiet for a little while. I suppose the hotel itself would have seemed incriminating to the Stasi.