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2155-Thomas Geierspichler photo

Thomas Geierspichler

Athletics
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8
4

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T52

Further personal information

Residence
Anif, AUT
Occupation
Athlete, Author, Motivational Speaker, Real Estate Agent
Languages
English, German
Higher education
Forestry Studies: Salzburg, AUT

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He took up the sport at age 22 in Linz, Austria.
Why this sport?
After watching Austrian alpine skier Hermann Maier win two gold medals at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, it became his ambition to stand on a winner's podium and hear the Austrian national anthem. "I wanted to see if it's true, [that] everything it's possible if you believe."
Training Regime
He trains six days a week, up to six hours a day.

International debut

Year
1999
Competing for
Austria
Location
Heidelberg, GER

General interest

Nicknames
Rolling Tom (salzburg.com, 14 Sep 2016)
Hobbies
Swimming, reading, music, wheelchair tennis, gardening. (salzburg24.at, 07 Sep 2016; geierspichler.com, 05 Jun 2018; Facebook page, 10 Mar 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the T52 1500m at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)
Most influential person in career
Coach Walter Gferer. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)
Hero / Idol
Austrian skier Hermann Maier. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018)
Injuries
A torn rotator cuff in his shoulder prevented him from competing at the 2019 World Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Apr 2020)

He suffered from a viral infection while competing at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (salzburg.com, 14 Sep 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Everything is possible for those who believe." (geierspichler.com, 05 Jun 2018)
Awards and honours
He was named 2018 Para Athlete of the Year at the Lotteries Sports Aid Gala in Vienna, Austria. (oepc.at, 31 Oct 2018)
Other sports
He has played wheelchair tennis at international level. (dailysports.at, 17 Jul 2015)
Milestones
He became the first Austrian Para athlete to win a gold medal in the 1500m [any classification] at the world championships following his victory in the T52 event at the 2002 edition in Lille, France. (SportsDeskOnline, 01 Apr 2020)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (Instagram profile, 25 Feb 2020)
Impairment
He has quadriplegia as the result of a car accident in April 1994. (Athlete, 20 Aug 2018; meinbezirk.at, 10 Apr 2013)
Other information
AFTERMATH AND RECOVERY
He turned to drugs and alcohol in the immediate aftermath off his car accident in 1994. "I skipped some therapies towards the end of my stay at hospital, because my life simply didn't interest me anymore. How can a psychologist, who later goes home on two legs, tell me how to deal with paraplegia? I started to drink more and more in the evening. Back in Anif [Austria], I had no perspective. So I continued to smoke weed [cannabis]. That put me in rose-tinted glasses so that I didn't have to admit the reality, to make it bearable." He was able to recover from drug and alcohol abuse through the help of a friend and a new found belief in himself. "A friend once asked me: 'How are you?' He looked into my eyes deeply and said: 'I really care how you are'. In this silence it was the first time that I had looked inside myself, and had to answer him: 'Yes, I'm feeling bad. I don't want to be in a wheelchair, I hate it. I want to be able to play football again, dance around in a disco, jump around. I don't want all of this anymore'. I had no hope in my life. That experience was a 180-degree turn. I was overwhelmed. Then I said to God: 'If you really exist, help me stop smoking pot and drinking'. That's where it started. Faith helped me get out of there, to come to myself. Counteract the bad, turn around, refocus, expect good. Sport is just an outlet with which I express it." (miteinander.at, 05 Sep 2019)

PREVIOUS OCCUPATION
Prior to his car accident in 1994, he worked at his family farm, which he had done since childhood. "My life was predetermined. It was clear that I should become a farmer. It had been drummed into my life as a child. Every day, even on Sundays, milking the cows, getting up at 05:00. That day [waking up at the hospital] was Sunday, I thought, still six hours of work at the farm. Then I noticed, 'No, we are not at home'. My feet started to shake. Then it tingled from my toes over my calves and thighs and up to my neck. At that moment, I did not know what really happened to me. My subconscious already knew more." (miteinander.at, 05 Sep 2019)

BOOK
A biography about him called 'Mit Ruckgrat zuruck ins Leben' [Back to Life with Backbone] was published in 2011. (salzburg24.at, 20 Sep 2011)

Results

Unit Date Rank
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Marathon T52 Final Round 1
Men's 200 m T52 Final Round 5
Men's 400 m T52 Heat 2 2
Men's 400 m T52 Final Round 4
Men's 800 m T52 Heat 1 3
Men's 800 m T52 Final Round 3
Athens 2004 Paralympic Games (Athens, Greece)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's Marathon T52 Final Round 2
Men's 5000 m T52 Final Round 2
Men's 1500 m T52 Final Round 1
Men's 1500 m T52 Heat 1 1
Men's 400 m T52 Heat 2 3
Men's 400 m T52 Final Round 3
Men's 800 m T52 Heat 2 2
Men's 800 m T52 Final Round 2
IPC Athletics World Championships Assen 2006 (Assen, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 400 m T52 Heat 1 1
Men's 400 m T52 Final Round 2
Men's 800 m T52 Heat 1 1
Men's 800 m T52 Final Round 2
Men's 1500 m T52 Final Round 2
Men's 5000 m T52 Final Round 2
Men's Marathon T52 Final Round 2
Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games (Sydney, Australia)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 800 m T52 Heat 1 5
Men's 1500 m T52 Heat 1 4
Men's 1500 m T52 Final Round 6
Men's 5000 m T52 Final Round 8
Men's Marathon T52 Final Round 3
IPC Athletics World Championships Villeneuve d'Ascq 2002 (Villeneuve d'Ascq, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 800 m T52 Final Round 1
Men's 800 m T52 Heat 1 1
Men's 1500 m T52 Final Round 1
Men's 5000 m T52 Final Round 1
Men's Marathon T52 Final Round 1
2011 IPC Athletics World Championships (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 1500 m T52 Final 2011-01-22 2
Men's 200 m T52 Final 2011-01-23 4
Men's 5000 m T52 Final 2011-01-25 1
Men's 400 m T52 Final 2011-01-27 3
Men's 800 m T52 Final 2011-01-28 4
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T52 Heat 1 2012-09-02 4
Men's 100 m T52 Final Round 2012-09-02 7
Men's 400 m T52 Final Round 2012-09-03 3
Men's 400 m T52 Heat 2 2012-09-03 2
Men's 800 m T52 Final Round 2012-09-07 5
Men's 200 m T52 Heat 1 2012-09-08 5
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 1500 m T52 Final 1 2013-07-20 2
Men's 800 m T52 Final 1 2013-07-21 4
Men's 400 m T52 Semifinal 1 2013-07-26 3
Men's 400 m T52 Final 1 2013-07-27 3
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 100 m T52 Heat 2 2016-09-09 6
Men's 400 m T52 Heat 1 2016-09-12 5
World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Men's 1500 m T52 Final 1 2017-07-16 4
Men's 400 m T52 Heat 1 2017-07-18 9
Men's 100 m T52 Heat 2 2017-07-22 10