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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Vanessa Low GER competes in the Women's Long Jump - T42 Final at the Olympic Stadium.

Vanessa Low

Athletics
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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.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
F61, T61

Further personal information

Family
Husband Scott Reardon
Residence
Canberra, ACT, AUS
Occupation
Athlete, Public Speaker
Languages
English, German
Higher education
Media Production - RTL Group: Cologne, GER

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up athletics in 2009 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. "I always loved running, I enjoyed the time in nature as well as the community aspect of sport. In order to return back to a balanced life I knew I needed to run again and after some detours found my way into competitive sport."
Club / Team
Australian Capital Territory [ACT] Para Athletics Talent Squad: Canberra, ACT, AUS
Name of coach
Iryna Dvoskina [personal], AUS
Training Regime
She trains at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, ACT, Australia. She trains nine times a week.

International debut

Year
2009
Competing for
Germany
Tournament
World Games
Location
Bengaluru, IND

General interest

Nicknames
V Low (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hobbies
Photography, spending time with her dog, hiking. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the T42 long jump at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
Former coach Roderick Green. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hero / Idol
Australian Para athlete and husband Scott Reardon. "He inspires me daily to be a better person and athlete." (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Injuries
She sustained a lower back injury in 2019 that kept her out of action for three months. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

In 2018 she sustained a rib fracture and cartilage damage that took her three months to recover from. Later that year she re-fractured her rib, needing two more months of recovery time. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

In 2016 she sustained a stress fracture in her lower back that forced her out of action for 18 months. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

She sustained an elbow fracture in 2013 that kept her out of action for six weeks. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

In 2009 she tore a shoulder tendon that affected her for 12 weeks. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

In 2009 she sustained a cheekbone fracture that took her four weeks to recover from. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

She broke her elbow in 2009. The injury kept her out of action for three months. (Athlete, 04 Apr 2011)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
She starts her competition days with meditation. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Whatever is given to you the day you were born, you will always be the one who decides who you will become." (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Awards and honours
She was named the 2016 Sportswoman with an Impairment of the Year by the National Paralympic Committee of Germany. (paralympic.org, 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. (paralympic.org, 24 Sep 2015)
Famous relatives
Her husband Australian athlete Scott Reardon, won a gold medal in the T42 100m at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Four years earlier at the Paralympic Games in London he claimed a silver in the same event. (SportsDeskOnline, 15 Feb 2019; canberratimes.com.au, 13 Sep 2018)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (photobookmagazine.com, 01 Jun 2019; canberratimes.com.au, 13 Sep 2018; paralympic.org.au, 01 Jan 2018)
Impairment
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. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019; evangelisch.de, 16 Nov 2010)
Other information
FROM GERMANY TO AUSTRALIA
She began competing for Australia in February 2019, having previously represented Germany. (IPC, 15 Feb 2019)

RETIREMENT AND RETURN
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. (paralympic.org, 24 Sep 2015; 11 May 2016)

TATTOOS
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)

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

NEW LEGS
When she first tried training on her 'running legs' it took her some time to get used to them. "In the first session I fell over, basically, every other step, and with my disability being quite a bit higher than those I compete against, I think I sometimes forget that back then it was not normal for someone with my kind of disability to walk, let alone run. There was just no one to look up to, there was no one in the Paralympics with my disability. For me, it just meant I had to figure out everything on my own." (canberratimes.com.au, 13 Sep 2018)

Results

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