Thursday, 23 February 2017

“Always going a step further than the rest”

Getty Images for Ottobock

Heinrich Popow becomes first prosthesis wearer on “Let’s Dance”

At the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Heinrich Popow set a new world record in the long jump and secured his second Paralympic gold medal. Popow, who serves as ambassador for international medical technology company Ottobock, has yet to find a sporting discipline that he’s unable to tackle with his disability. Now, he has set his sights on Germany’s TV dancing competition, “Let’s Dance”. The first episode of the 10th season will air on 24 February on RTL at 8:15 p.m. local time.

“For me, dancing represents the perfection of movement, but I’ve shied away from it up until now,” says Popow. But he is now facing up to this challenge, true to his motto: “Always go a step further than the rest”. As the first contestant with a transfemoral amputation to compete in “Let’s Dance”, he is aware that this will be doubly challenging: Apart from his skill as a dancer, the proper adjustment of his prosthesis is crucial as well.

Changes in speed and step length play a key role in dancing. “With the Genium X3 prosthetic knee joint, I’m able to respond intuitively and flexibly, even in challenging situations,” Popow explains. As a trained O&P professional, he is also able to rely on his expertise here.

He intends to be completely open about his disability during the show: “I want to get people who have a disability interested in sports.” He is already successfully pursuing this goal with the “Ottobock Running Clinics”, a sports camp in which he motivates amputees to start playing sports again using special prostheses.

For Ottobock, Popow has become much more than just a brand ambassador. “Heinrich is a member of our global Ottobock family. We are proud of the successes he’s achieved so far, and I am certain that he is going to rock ‘Let’s Dance’ as well,” says Ottobock owner Hans Georg Näder.

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