How did ADHD affect your career

"We try to help children who are like me"


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ZEIT ONLINE: Did your hyperactivity affect the sport?

Ottke: My trainer had to keep stopping me. He always said: "Sven, take it easy!" I could never get enough. The training was just a lot of fun. Every running session was a competition among us athletes. I was always 100 percent trained.

ZEIT ONLINE: Many people with ADHD develop extreme ambition for something they are particularly good at. Was that the case with you too?

Ottke: I've always been very busy training. And I'm extremely consistent. If I want something, I'll do it too.

ZEIT ONLINE: In order to be so successful as a "problem child", do you need a suitable environment in addition to personal requirements?

Ottke: The environment is extremely important. Many people have supported me on my way. For example my class teacher in elementary school. She was my biggest fan even though I messed up so much. She saw something in me.

ZEIT ONLINE: You now support other people with social projects. Who is your association Sven hilft?

Ottke: We try to help children who are like me. To this end, for example, we support a youth home in Storkow near Berlin for children who are difficult to bring up and with whom their parents can no longer get along. We had a sports field built so that the children can do sports there. We also support other sports and leisure activities for children, such as guided bike tours.

ZEIT ONLINE: What do you think when you look back on your successful career now?

Ottke: Sport can make a huge difference. For me he brought the greatest moments of happiness. I got to know God and the world. I have to be grateful to the sport all my life for everything I have achieved. And I don't know what would have become of me without the sport.

ZEIT ONLINE: Are you still hyperactive today?

Ottke: I still have the urge to move and exercise almost every day. I like to do that, even when I'm almost 50.