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Florian Planker

Florian Planker

Alpine Skiing | Para Ice Hockey
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Florian Planker entered his fifth Paralympics in Sochi in 2014 as no stranger to adversity.

Italy’s veteran forward overcame a motorcycle accident at age 17 that resulted in the amputation of his left leg above the knee. But that didn’t stop him from becoming involved in elite sport.

He represented Italy in Para alpine skiing at three editions of the Paralympic Winter Games from 1998-2006, with his best result, a bronze medal, coming in the super-G competition at the Salt Lake City 2002 Games.

Planker, who holds an accounting degree, switched over to Para ice hockey when his team qualified for the Paralympics for the first time in 2006, as Torino hosted the Games.

With five years of experience in standing hockey prior to his accident, Planker had already mastered how to read the game on the ice, knowing exactly when to pass or shoot the puck.

He has been the team’s anchor and go-to scorer ever since, leading them to a European title in 2011 and sixth-place finishes at the last two World Championships. He was also on hand when Italy clinched their best ever finish at a Worlds in 2015 with fifth.

Planker was the leading scorer for Italy at both of those World Championships and he led all players at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Qualification Tournament with eight goals – four of them game-winners – and five assists. Italy won silver there to qualify for Sochi 2014.

Planker, who often indulges in pasta to load up on carbohydrates before big games, talks a lot about how his family. His wife and daughter keep him motivated, and he said he admires his father more than anybody in the world because of the example he’s set in his life.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired

Further personal information

Family
Wife Helina, daughter Jana
Occupation
Bank Employee
Languages
English, German, Italian

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began playing Para ice hockey in 2006 in Bolzano, Italy.
Why this sport?
He had played ice hockey when he was a child, but first took up alpine skiing following his accident, after he watched the 1994 Paralympic Winter Games in Lillehammer. He moved on to Para ice hockey in 2006. "Once I entered the ice I immediately felt comfortable."
Name of coach
Massimo Da Rin [national], ITA
Training Regime
He trains twice a week with the Italian national Para ice hockey team.
Preferred position / style / stance / technique
Forward

General interest

Nicknames
Flok (Facebook profile, 27 Jan 2019)
Hobbies
Collecting mushrooms, hiking. (repubblica.it, 06 Jan 2021; ff-bz.com, 05 Aug 2021)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold at the 2011 European Para ice hockey Championships in Solleftea, Sweden. (ff-bz.com, 05 Aug 2021)
Most influential person in career
His wife Helina. (Athlete, 10 Mar 2018)
Hero / Idol
Italian alpine skier Isolde Kostner. (Athlete, 08 Mar 2014)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Always give the maximum and use your head." (comitatoparalimpico.it, 08 Feb 2018)
Awards and honours
He was flag bearer for Italy at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. (paralympic.org, 09 Mar 2018)
Other sports
He represented Italy in alpine skiing at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, winning bronze in the LW2 super G at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. He has also competed in ice hockey at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. Prior to his accident, he played able-bodied ice hockey in Italy's second tier. (SportsDeskOnline, 25 Nov 2021; Athlete, 10 Mar 2018; esquire.com, 09 Mar 2018; VANOC, 21 Mar 2010)
Impairment
At age 17 his left leg was amputated above the knee after he was involved in a motorcycle accident. (Athlete, 08 Mar 2014)
Other information
FUTURE PLANS
He hopes to use his experience to help bring new Para ice hockey players into the national team for the 2026 Paralympic Winter Games in Milan-Cortina. "I would say that a dream I have is to put my experience at the service of the new generations, in any way possible. In particular, I would like to try to look for new athletes and together with the Italian Ice Sports Federation, bring them to Milan-Cortina 2026, in the hope of making our beautiful sport better known." (repubblica.it, 06 Jan 2021)

SLOWING DOWN
Following the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, he chose to reduce his competitive sporting activities, but remained committed to training with the Italian Para ice hockey team. "I no longer do all the things I used to do to keep fit, I confess. But I think training a little every day is fundamental. I imagine it is a problem for people who have to do it all at home, partly because not everyone can afford a gym at home. I always recommend a bicycle to keep active, but it's not the same thing." (repubblica.it, 06 Jan 2021)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
He is head of the South Tyrol Eagles, the Para ice hockey section of Gruppo Sportivo Disabili Alto Adige, a sports club for athletes with an impairment in Italy. (sgks.bz.it, 04 Aug 2021)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Nagano 1998 Paralympic Winter Games (Nagano, Japan)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Slalom LW2 Final Round 23
Men's Giant Slalom LW2 Final Round 9999
Men's Super-G LW2 Final Round 9999
Men's Downhill LW2 Final Round 6
Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (Vancouver, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Classification 7-8 102
Mixed Classification 5-8 201
Mixed Group B 6
Mixed Group B 3
Mixed Group B 1
Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games (Torino, Italy)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Slalom Standing Final Round 41
Men's Giant Slalom Standing Final Round 9999
Men's Super-G Standing Final Round 15
Men's Downhill Standing Final Round 27
Salt Lake City 2002 Paralympic Winter Games (Salt Lake City, United States of America)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Slalom LW2 Final Round 16
Men's Giant Slalom LW2 Final Round 5
Men's Super-G LW2 Final Round 3
Men's Downhill LW2 Final Round 7
IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships (Kangwonland, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Giant Slalom Standing Final 2009-02-21 25
Men's Super-G Standing Final 2009-02-23 17
Men's Super-Combined Standing Final 2009-02-23 16
Men's Super-G Standing Run 2 2009-02-24 4
Men's Downhill Standing Final 2009-02-28 14
Paralympic Winter Games 2014 (Sochi, Russia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Group B 2014-03-08 1
Mixed Group B 2014-03-09 4
Mixed Group B - Standings 2014-03-11 3
Mixed Group B 2014-03-11 5
Mixed Classification 5-6 2014-03-12 201
Mixed Classification 5-8 2014-03-14 101
Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games (Pyeongchang, South Korea)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Mixed Tournament Group A 2018-03-10 1
Mixed Tournament Group A 2018-03-11 3
Mixed Tournament Group A 2018-03-12 5
Mixed Tournament Group A - Standings 2018-03-13 2
Mixed Tournament Semifinal 2018-03-15 2
Mixed Tournament Bronze Medal Match 2018-03-17 1