Font size bigger Font size smaller
Vanessa Low GER competes in the Women's Long Jump - T42 Final at the Olympic Stadium.

Vanessa Low


After winning her first major title in 2014 – a European gold in long jump T42 – Low has gone on to win Paralympic and world titles, rewriting the record books along the way.

Having failed to medal at London 2012, Low warmed up for Rio 2016 by retaining her long jump European title with a leap of 4.71m. As she had done at 2014 European and 2015 World Championships, she also took silver in the 100m T42 behind her Italian rival Martina Caironi.

In Rio, a leap of 4.93m saw her smash her own long jump world record by 14cm and top the Paralympic podium for the first time. She also set a personal best of 15.17 seconds in the 100m as she won silver again behind Caironi.

At the 2015 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, she broke the then long jump world record which she had jointly held with Italy’s Martina Caironi to land her first world title. Her jump of 4.79m added 19cm to the previous record.

The popular German made her international debut in 2009. She won 100m bronze at the 2011 World Championships in New Zealand and at the 2013 equivalent won bronze in both the long jump and 100m.


Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment

Further personal information

Athlete, Public Speaker
German, Swedish, English
Higher education
Media Production - RTL Group: Cologne, GER

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up athletics in 2008 at the Schleswig-Holstein Regional Performance Centre in Ratzeburg, Germany where she borrowed some sports prostheses, which got her started as a para-athlete. She decided to drop out of school in 12th grade and move to Leverkusen, Germany, where she was offered the opportunity to train with former German Olympic javelin thrower Steffi Nerius at the TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen club.
Why this sport?
She was inspired by US para-athlete Cameron Clapp. She also wanted to continue playing sport after her accident.
Club / Team
TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Germany
Name of coach
Willi Gernemann [national]; Roderick Green [personal], USA, from 2013; Siegfried Stark [personal], GER, from 2016

International debut

Competing for
World Games
Bengaluru, IND

General interest

Watching movies, painting her nails. (, 11 Mar 2015; 24 Sep 2015)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning her first gold medal at a world championships in 2015 in Doha, Qatar. (, 04 May 2016)
Hero / Idol
US sprinter Carl Lewis. (, 10 May 2015)
In June 2016 she suffered from a back injury while competing at the European Championships in Grosseto, Italy. (, 11 Jun 2016)

She broke her elbow in 2009. The injury kept her out of action for three months. (Athlete, 04 Apr 2011)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Win and forget, lose and forget." (, 12 Jan 2015)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2016 Sportswoman with an Impairment of the Year by the National Paralympic Committee of Germany. (, 29 Nov 2016)

She received the 2009 Athlete of the Year award in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. (Athlete, 09 Feb 2011)
Other sports
She practised ballet dancing for eight years before her accident. (, 24 Sep 2015)
In June 2006 she was run over by a train at a railway crossing. Her left leg was severed and she was in a coma for two months. To save her life, doctors also had to amputate her right leg. (, 16 Nov 2010)
Other information
She began competing for Australia in February 2019, having previously represented Germany. (IPC, 15 Feb 2019)

She retired from competitive para-athletics after participating at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. In 2013 she visited her friend, German Paralympian Katrin Green, in the United States of America, and it was there where she rediscovered her love for the sport. She lived and trained in Oklahoma City, OK, for three years until mid-2016 when she returned to Germany due to her visa becoming invalid. (, 24 Sep 2015; 11 May 2016)

She has the latitude and longitude coordinates of four cities tattooed on her right arm, including the three cities where the para-athletics world championships were held between 2011-2015 [Christchurch, Lyon and Doha]. She also has the coordinates for Bangalore, India, due to her having made her international debut there at the 2009 World Games. (Facebook page, 30 Dec 2015)

She has studied a long distance degree in digital media. (, 11 Mar 2015)


Unit Date Rank
2011 IPC Athletics World Championships (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump F42 Final 2011-01-23 4
Women's 100 m T42 Final 2011-01-25 3
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump F42/44 Final Round 2012-09-02 6
Women's 100 m T42 Final Round 2012-09-05 4
IPC Athletics World Championships (Lyon, France)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump T42 Final 1 2013-07-22 3
Women's 100 m T42 Final 1 2013-07-27 3
IPC Athletics 2015 World Championships (Doha, Qatar)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump T42 Final 1 2015-10-22 1
Women's 100 m T42 Heat 2 2015-10-29 2
Women's 100 m T42 Final 1 2015-10-30 2
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's Long Jump T42 Final Round 2016-09-10 1
Women's 100 m T42 Final Round 2016-09-17 2
Women's 100 m T42 Heat 2 2016-09-17 1