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21533-Alexandra Stamatopoulou photo

Alexandra Stamatopoulou

Swimming

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Impaired muscle power
Classification
S4, SB3, SM4

Further personal information

Residence
Piraeus, GRE
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English, Greek

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up swimming in 2011 in Athens, Greece.
Why this sport?
She took up the sport as part of her rehabilitation. "When my illness became more intense, I had to go to a healing pool to keep my muscles well. So then I started swimming. My therapist at the time wanted me to try competing. At first, I saw it more like a game, so I did not realise the seriousness and responsibility of being an athlete. But it all changed when I won my first race. I became eager to improve on a competitive level."
Club / Team
Tyrtaios: Greece
Name of coach
Michalis Nikopoulos [club], GRE

International debut

Year
2013
Competing for
Greece

General interest

Hobbies
Dancing. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the S4 50m backstroke at the 2018 European Championships in Dublin, Ireland. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019; paralympics.org, 19 Aug 2018)
Most influential person in career
Coach Michalis Nikopoulos. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Hero / Idol
Greek artistic gymnast Eleftherios Petrounias. (Athlete, 12 Sep 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Relax and be healthy." (Athlete, 13 Jul 2015)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2018 and 2019 Female Para Athlete of the Year by the Panhellenic Association of Sports Journalists. (cnn.gr, 12 Dec 2018; Instagram profile, 16 Dec 2019)
Impairment
At age 14 she was diagnosed with stiff person syndrome [SPS], a neurological condition in which the muscles stiffen as they do not eliminate lactic acid. "The diagnosis was ultimately relieving, because I had so many bad symptoms but we didn't know what the condition was. I was not disappointed. I felt that since I finally knew what the disease was, I had to deal with it the right way." (Facebook page, 27 Apr 2022; cnn.gr, 12 Dec 2018; athina984.gr, 08 Sep 2016; womensports.gr, 31 Aug 2014)
Other information
ROMANIA TO GREECE
Born in Romania, she spent the first five years of her life in an orphanage. She believes her biological parents struggled financially as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, which affected neighbouring countries, and that this contributed to their decision to give her up. "There was great poverty. Even the richest had no food on their shelves. So Chernobyl was a very important factor. I remember the day I was adopted, I was very happy and at the same time scared. I was leaving a place where there was a specific schedule and I didn't know where I was going. I was also afraid I would do something wrong and find myself in the institution again. My adoptive parents were trying to reassure me by explaining to me that I was their own child and that this would never happen. I had PDD [pervasive developmental disorder], and didn't say a word until I was five. With the proper treatment and support I started talking, but those years were the most difficult of my life." (marieclaire.gr, 18 Oct 2021)

DANCING WITH THE STARS
In January 2022 she appeared on the Greek version of TV talent show 'Dancing with the Stars', performing a routine in a wheelchair with professional dancer Marina Lampropoulou. "One of the most magical moments of my life. We danced for a good cause. It doesn't matter if we made some mistakes. I would like to thank Marina very much for what she saw in me." (marieclaire.gr, 24 Jan 2022; Instagram profile, 24 Jan 2022)

Results

Unit Date Rank
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Final 1 2015-07-13 7
Mixed 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Heat 1 2015-07-13 8
Women's 100 m Freestyle S3 Heat 1 2015-07-14 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S3 Final 1 2015-07-14 6
Women's 50 m Backstroke S3 Heat 1 2015-07-18 9
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Freestyle S3 Heat 1 2016-09-08 3
Women's 100 m Freestyle S3 Final Round 2016-09-08 6
Mixed 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Heat 1 2016-09-09 2
Mixed 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Final Round 2016-09-09 5
Women's 50 m Backstroke S3 Final Round 2016-09-10 5
Women's 50 m Backstroke S3 Heat 2 2016-09-10 3
Mexico City 2017 World Para Swimming Championships (Mexico City, Mexico)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Backstroke S3 Final 1 2017-12-03 3
Women's 100 m Freestyle S3 Final 1 2017-12-04 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S3 Final 1 2017-12-06 2
Mixed 4x50 m Freestyle 20pts Final 1 2017-12-07 4