Motivated

At the start of the Paralympics in Pyeongchang we profile three athletes from the German Olympic team.

Fast: Anna Schaffelhuber during a super-G race
Fast: Anna Schaffelhuber during a super-G race dpa

The star: monoskier Anna Schaffelhuber (25)

The sporting world was impressed: Anna Schaffelhuber won a sensational five gold medals at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. Downhill, slalom, giant slalom, combined and super-G – the student teacher from Munich is also competing in Pyeongchang. She began skiing at the age of five. Because of her paraplegia she competes sitting on a monoski. Schaffelhuber doesn’t like stopping for anything: “After a failure things have to start moving forward again,” she says. “Non-handicapped people also often say I motivate them to try something new.”

Anna Schaffelhuber with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender
Anna Schaffelhuber with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife Elke Büdenbender
dpa
Quick facts
577,184
members

belong to the National Paralympic Committee Germany. It renders an important contribution to inclusion.

20
athletes

from Germany are taking part in the Winter Paralympics 2018 in PyeongChang.

345
medals

is the number Germany holds in the all-time Winter Paralympics medals table, placing it second, behind Norway.

22
medals

is the number won by German skier Gerd Schönfelder at the Winter Paralympics. He holds the men’s record for the most medals.

19
medals

is the number won at the Winter Paralympics by the most successful German female ski racer to date, Reinhild Möller.

The youngster: cross-country skier Nico Messinger (23)

Among the German athletes competing in Pyeongchang in the Nordic skiing events (cross-country and biathlon) Nico Messinger is the youngest – and a sportsman with great potential. The national coach is full of praise: “This winter he made an enormous leap forward because he completed his vocational training and was able to concentrate completely on his sport.” The car salesperson, who lives in Freiburg, has been visually impaired since birth. That’s why he follows a sighted guide. A project at primary school got him involved in cross-country skiing. He is now celebrating his debut at the Paralympics and says: “There’s nothing greater for a sportsman.”

Cross-country skier Nico Messinger
Cross-country skier Nico Messinger dpa

The all-rounder: biathlete Anja Wicker (26)

As a child Anja Wicker received a present of a handcycle because her wheelchair didn’t satisfy her urge to move. Her handicap, a malformation of the lower spine, did not stop her trying out different types of sport. She has also been very successful at paracycling, but her main focus lies on the biathlon. When she’s on the track five belts provide support on a special sitski. At the winter games in Sochi she won gold over 10 kilometres and silver over 12.5 kilometres. In her day-to-day life the Stuttgarter notices how her wheelchair unsettles some people. Her advice: “The best thing to do is ask and offer help. The most the other person can do is say ‘no’.”

Biathlete Anja Wicker
Biathlete Anja Wicker dpa