21797-Barbara van Bergen photo

Barbara van Bergen

Alpine Skiing | Wheelchair Basketball


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Motivational Speaker
Dutch, English, French, German
Higher education
Communications - Ichthus University of Applied Sciences: Rotterdam, NED

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She first tried skiing in 2007 in Kaunertal, Austria. She began to pursue the sport more seriously in 2013.
Why this sport?
"Winter sports are an important part of my life. After my accident I knew one thing for sure, I can still do winter sports, no longer snowboarding but I can ride in a sit-down ski. That way I can still do what I think is fantastic, and that is out in the snow with friends."
Club / Team
CTO Papendal: Arnhem, NED
Name of coach
Nick Elsewaerd [national, alpine skiing], NED; Falco Teitsma [national, alpine skiing], NED

International debut

2014 [alpine skiing]
Competing for
Landgraaf, NED

General interest

Bar [short for Barbara]. (Athlete, 07 Jul 2016)
Wakeboarding, cooking, travelling. (Instagram profile, 24 Feb 2022;, 01 Apr 2018; Athlete, 07 Jul 2016)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning a bronze medal in wheelchair basketball at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (, 01 Apr 2018)
Hero / Idol
Dutch Para alpine skiers Kees-Jan van der Klooster and Anna Jochemsen. (Athlete, 07 Jul 2016)
In January 2022 she fell and sustained a concussion while competing at the World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. (, 17 Feb 2022; Instagram profile, 19 Jan 2022)

In January 2015 she broke her collarbone. (, 12 Oct 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You totally need to have a lot of guts and even I have my moments of, 'Oh my god, what am I going to do?' It's only go. You can never do it half way. It is only 100% or don't go, because then it's going to be dangerous. You have to be fully present. And I think that a lot of the girls really find it difficult to step over that hurdle of where your heartbeat is in your throat and you think, 'Oh oh'." (OIS, 04 Mar 2022)
Other sports
She has represented the Netherlands in Para alpine skiing and wheelchair basketball. She was part of the Dutch wheelchair basketball team at three editions of the Paralympic Games, starting in 2008 and winning bronze in 2012 and 2016. She held an LW11 classification for the 2021/22 Para alpine skiing season and won silver in the sitting downhill event at the 2021 World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway. Prior to the injury she sustained in 2006, she competed in athletics at national level in the Netherlands. (SportsDeskOnline, 25 Feb 2022; IPC, 25 Feb 2022;, 12 Feb 2018;, 2017)
To win a medal at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. "I started in Beijing [2008 Paralympic Games], that was my first Paralympics, so how cool would it be to compete there in the winter as well and have that full circle." (Facebook page, 14 Nov 2020; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020;, 04 Nov 2019)
She was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2006 that resulted in paraplegia. (Athlete, 07 Jul 2016)
Other information
She was the only woman to represent the Netherlands in alpine skiing at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing. She has spoken of her hope that more women will get involved in the sport. "The problem sometimes with the ladies is that they think about getting married, having children. Or when they start skiing at a young age, then after doing it for 10 years, even if they are still really young and in their 20s, they think, 'Well, I might go and focus on my other life. I went to school, maybe I should do something with that'. We need a lot of organisation, a lot of talking about it, a lot of going around and making sure that girls know that it's not only fear and breaking bones and only for boys." (OIS, 04 Mar 2022)

She has served on the World Para Alpine Skiing Athlete Focus Group. In 2021 she became a member of the Athletes' Committee of the Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation [NOC*NSF]. (, 17 Dec 2021;, 02 Apr 2020)

She has served as an ambassador for the Dirk Kuyt Foundation in the Netherlands. The foundation supports and organises events for people with an impairment. (, 22 Oct 2020)


Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Tournament Group B 2
Women's Tournament Classification 5-6 101
Women's Tournament Classification 5-8 202
Women's Tournament Quarterfinal 303
Women's Tournament Group B 9
Women's Tournament Group B 8
Women's Tournament Group B 5
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women Group A 2012-08-30 1
Women Group A 2012-08-31 4
Women Group A 2012-09-02 8
Women Group A - Standings 2012-09-03 2
Women Group A 2012-09-03 10
Women Quarterfinal 2012-09-04 303
Women Semifinal 2012-09-06 202
Women Bronze Medal Match 2012-09-07 102
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women Group B 2016-09-09 3
Women Group B 2016-09-10 5
Women Group B 2016-09-11 8
Women Group B 2016-09-12 9
Women Group B - Standings 2016-09-12 2
Women Quarterfinal 2016-09-13 301
Women Semifinal 2016-09-15 202
Women Bronze Medal Match 2016-09-16 102
Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships (Kranjska Gora/Sella Nevea, Slovenia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Giant Slalom Sitting Race 1 2019-01-22 4
Women's Slalom Sitting Race 1 2019-01-24 9999
Women's Downhill Sitting Race 1 2019-01-30 4
Women's Super-Combined Sitting Race 1 2019-01-31 9999
Women's Super-G Sitting Race 1 (from SC) 2019-01-31 9999