Monday, 13 August 2018

A busy summer for sports at Ottobock

A group of people with transfemoral amputations run along a waterfront in a large city with Heinrich Popow.

Johannes Floors named Ambassador / Heinrich Popow finishing his sporting career / First European Running Clinics / Ottobock providing technical service at European Para Athletics Championships Berlin 2018

Paralympic sports have been a driving force for med-tech company Ottobock for 30 years. And a great deal is happening with respect to Paralympic sport in particular this summer: Johannes Floors has been named an Ottobock Ambassador, Heinrich Popow is finishing his sporting career, the first European Running Clinic is being held in Berlin and Ottobock is serving as the technical support partner during the European Para Athletics Championships.

Johannes Floors named new Ottobock Ambassador

Johannes Floors, a gold medal winner at Rio 2016 and reigning world champion in the 200 metres, 400 metres and 4 x 100 metre relay has been named an official Ottobock Ambassador with immediate effect. The 23-year-old O&P professional is a bilateral transtibial amputee and uses the “Sprinter” running blades manufactured by the internationally active med-tech company. Together with fellow German teammates Heinrich Popow and Léon Schäfer, Floors will be working to help Paralympic sports gain a higher profile. “We’re already moving in the right direction in terms of media attention. And the fact that Germany is hosting the European Para Athletics Championships is a great chance to show everything we can do,” says Floors. Ottobock’s commitment to Paralympic sports has been a fixed part of the company for 30 years. “It’s part of our DNA. By recruiting Johannes Floors, we have gained a smart, authentic Ambassador who is just as excited as we are about driving the Paralympic movement forwards and boosting its profile,” says Ralf Stuch, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Ottobock.

In his role as Ambassador, Floors will once again be working alongside his fellow teammate and long-time supporter, Heinrich Popow. “Johannes and I have been together throughout much of our journey. We’ve learned from each other and I am proud that Johannes is joining the Ottobock family,” says Heinrich Popow. The pair both studied O&P technology in the same class and are members of the TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen club.

Popow finishing sporting career

Heinrich Popow, who has been an Ambassador for the med-tech company since 2007, will participate in his final competition in the long jump on 21 August. In doing so, he will be concluding his successful sporting career as previously announced. Popow has been involved in Paralympic sports for 18 years and has been one of the best Paralympic athletes in the world for many years. He won gold in the 100 metres at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London as well as a gold in the long jump in Rio in 2016. “It’s something very special to represent your country in an international competition right here at home. That’s why the European Championships in Berlin are the perfect time and place for me to bring my competitive career to a close,” says Popow. However, he will continue to play an active role at Ottobock even when he is no longer a professional athlete.

First European Running Clinic to be held alongside the European Championships

The first European Running Clinic will be held under Heinrich Popow’s leadership to coincide with the European Para Athletics Championships. The 35-year-old has already been inspiring transfemoral amputees from around the world and showing them how running with a sports prosthesis works at the Running Clinic sports camps since 2013. This camp will be held on a transnational basis for the first time from 21 to 24 August. The twelve registered participants from ten countries will be training not only with an international star, but – like their sporting role models – in the Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark stadium as well. “Sports have given me an incredible amount to be grateful for. I see it as my duty to share my experience with as many people as possible. And it’s not about turning amputees into top-flight athletes, but rather showing them how much sports can improve their quality of life – they shouldn’t be doing sports despite, but rather because of their prosthesis,” Popow says. O&P professionals, who also provide the technical service at the Paralympic Games, equip the participants with sports prostheses for the camp at no charge and support them with their technical expertise.

Ottobock providing technical service at the European Para Athletics Championships Berlin 2018

Ottobock is providing free technical service to all participants at the European Para Athletics Championships as an official event partner. The company already has experience in this role thanks to its 30 years as a partner for the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games. In March 2018, a team of 23 technicians travelled to the Winter Games in PyeongChang to support the athletes on site. “The athletes work for four years to prepare themselves for this competition. They shouldn’t miss out on competing due to defective equipment,” says Peter Franzel, Director Sports Marketing & Sponsoring. While the workshop Ottobock has set up will look a bit smaller than those at the Paralympic Games, this event is still very important. “Ottobock has always had deep roots in the capital city because the company’s history started here. And we have just moved in to new premises here as well. For us, it’s therefore particularly special to be part of the European Championships in Berlin. The competitions are taking place right outside our front door,” says Franzel. Otto Bock founded his company in Berlin in 1919. The company has maintained and deepened its connection to the capital city with the Science Center on Potsdamer Platz and the new premises on the former Bötzow Brewery site in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, which it has recently moved into.

The European Para Athletics Championships Berlin 2018 by the numbers:

  • 650 athletes from 30 nations
  • 107 medal competitions for men, 82 medal competitions for women, 1 mixed medal competition
  • Technical service offered on 13 days
  • 7-member technical service team consisting of O&P professionals, wheelchair specialists and welders
  • 6 languages
  • 72 m² workshop space

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