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
T61, F61

Further personal information

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

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up Para athletics in 2009 at the Schleswig-Holstein Regional Performance Centre in Ratzeburg, Germany, where she borrowed some sports prostheses. She decided to drop out of school in the 12th grade and move to Leverkusen, Germany, where she was offered the opportunity to train with 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 to be involved in sport after her accident, having practised ballet dancing for eight years previously. "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, I found my way into competitive sport."
Club / Team
Australian Capital Territory [ACT] Para Athletics Talent Squad: Canberra, ACT, AUS
Name of coach
Iryna Dvoskina [national], UKR
Training Regime
She trains at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, ACT, Australia. She has nine training sessions a week.

International debut

Competing for
World Games
Bengaluru, IND

General interest

V Low (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Photography, spending time with her dog, hiking. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the women's T42 long jump at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
Coach Roderick Green. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hero / Idol
Her husband Scott Reardon. "He inspires me daily to be a better person and athlete." (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
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)

During 2009 she suffered a tear to a shoulder tendon that affected her for 12 weeks, a cheekbone fracture that took her four weeks to recover from, and a broken elbow that sidelined her for three months. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019, 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 2020 Para Athlete of the Year at the CBR Sport Awards in Canberra, ACT, Australia. (, 16 Dec 2020)

She was named 2016 Sportswoman with an Impairment of the Year by the National Paralympic Committee of Germany. (, 29 Nov 2016)
Famous relatives
Her husband Scott Reardon won a gold medal representing Australia in the men's T42 100m at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and silver in the same event at the 2012 Games in London. (SportsDeskOnline, 15 Feb 2019;, 13 Sep 2018)
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (, 01 Jun 2019;, 13 Sep 2018;, 01 Jan 2018)
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;, 16 Nov 2010)
Other information
She plans to retire from competitive Para athletics after the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. "Putting my body through another Games, I think will probably take a little bit too much out on it, knowing that one day I want to be running around with my kids and maybe even grandkids. I think it's a healthy balance of being committed and having a passion but also knowing when it's time to move on. I have so much outside of sport that I'm enjoying, that I'm grateful for and that often has to take second priority. Being away for a lot and missing out on family birthdays, weddings and all these things. I do want to give that other part in my life a little bit more attention and hopefully start a family sometime soon as well." (, 02 Jul 2020)

When she first tried training on her sports prostheses 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." (, 13 Sep 2018)

She retired from competitive Para athletics after competing at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. In 2013 she visited a 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, United States of America, for three years until mid-2016, when she returned to Germany due to her visa becoming invalid. (, 24 Sep 2015, 11 May 2016)

She began competing for Australia in February 2019, having previously represented Germany. (IPC, 15 Feb 2019)

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 from 2011-2015 [Christchurch, New Zealand; Lyon, France; and Doha, Qatar]. She also has the coordinates for Bengaluru, India, due to her having made her international debut there at the 2009 World Games. (Facebook page, 30 Dec 2015)

She has studied for a bachelor's degree in computer science at the Wilhelm Buchner University of Applied Sciences in Darmstadt, Germany. She has also studied a long-distance degree in digital media. (, 11 Mar 2015; LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 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