Ottobock Ambassador

Heinrich Popow

At the age of nine, Heinrich Popow was facing an amputation, due to a tumor in his left calf. Even before the operation, a para-athlete promised him that he would return to sports. And that's exactly what he did!

A love of athletics

Heinrich started his athletics career in 2001 at the TSV Bayer 04 club in Leverkusen, Germany. His disciplines were: Long jump, 200- and 100-meter sprint. Already in 2004 he participated in his first Paralympic Games in Athens and won bronze three times. This was followed by Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. He participated in a total of four Paralympic Games, four World Championships and four European Championships, achieving a remarkable 23 medals. Two weeks before the Rio Games, he then managed to set the long jump world record with 6.77 meters. He ended his successful career as a competitive athlete in 2018, in Berlin at the European Championships with a silver medal in the long jump.

Talent Days, Running Clinics and much more ...

But even after the end of his career, it is impossible to imagine the sport without Heinrich. He does an impressive job of motivating young athletes. Together with Ottobock, where he works in the "Events, Exhibitions & Sports" department, he has already set up many projects. One example is the Talent Days, where children, teenagers and young adults spend a weekend getting closer to sports on sports prostheses. The Running Clinics offers this opportunity for adults. Heinrich oversees these events worldwide. As a trained orthopedic technician, he has the necessary know-how to combine practice and theory.

"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. It’s not about turning amputees into top-flight athletes, but about showing them how much sports can improve their quality of life. Not about engaging in sports despite the prosthesis – but because of it."

Heinrich Popow, Ottobock Ambassador & Global Liason Manager

Heinrich motivates the participants at the Running Clinics

Heinrich also regularly visits people waiting for their amputation in the hospital to encourage them. He tries to be the person for them who gave him the motivation back then in the hospital to do sports with a prosthesis. For Heinrich, it's clear: with sports, you can overcome barriers and better manage your everyday life.

The former para-athlete wants to show other people what is possible by sharing his story. True to his guiding principle: "Always go a step further than the rest", he proves that you can do anything even with a physical impairment. He showed this, for example, in 2017 on the German RTL dance show ,,Let's Dance". Heinrich made it into the top 5, but then, unfortunately, had to drop out due to injury. He is a role model for many Paralympic athletes and for some even the reason to have started with para-sports in the first place. Those he’s inspired include Vinicius Rodrigues, Tomomi Tozawa and Sofia Gonzalez.

Key facts

  • Nation: Germany
  • Year of Birth: 1983
  • Sport: Para Athletics - 100 m, 200 m, Long jump
  • Classification: T42
  • Former coach: Karl-Heinz Düe
  • Former club: TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Victories and achievments

  • Paralympic Games Rio 2016
    • Gold medal in long jump
  • World Para Athletics Championships Lyon 2013
    • Gold medal on 100 m
    • Bronze medal on 200 m
    • Bronze medal in long jump
  • Paralympic Games London 2012
    • Gold medal on 100 m
    • Bronze medal on 200 m
    • Bronze medal in 4x100 m
  • World Para Athletic Championships Christchurch 2011
    • Gold medal on 100 m
    • Gold medal in long jump
  • Paralympic Games Beijing 2008
    • Silver medal on 100 m
  • World Para Athletic Championships Assen 2006
    • Bronze medal in long jump
  • Paralympic Games Athen 2004
    • Bronze medal on 100 m
    • Bronze medal on 200 m
    • Bronze medal in long jump
  • World Para Athletic Championship Lille 2002
    • Bronze medal in long jump

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