With nine gold Paralympics medals and a number of World and European champion titles to her name, Marianne Buggenhagen is an outstanding athlete.
Now 59, she’s been in a wheelchair since she was 23. Far from holding her back, it’s allowed her to excel as a Paralympic athlete – as she explains on Talking Germany.
Marianne Buggenhagen was born in Ueckermünde in the former East Germany in 1953. By the age of 14 she was already 1.80 meters tall and was talent spotted by the East German volleyball team. She moved to Berlin to train, and also qualified as a nurse. When she was 19 she suffered a slipped disc which initially seemed harmless – but which led to paraplegia. She gradually came to terms with life in a wheelchair and soon decided that it didn’t have to stop her from taking part in competitive sport.
She’s been competing for 35 years and has represented Germany at the Paralympics six times. Marianne Buggenhagen lives with her husband Jörg in Bernau near Berlin.