Seven years after a training accident left him paralyzed, former German champion Ronny Ziesmer told IG his new focus will be his "Alliance of Hope" foundation and training for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Seven years after a training accident left him paralyzed, former German team standout and recent biotechnology degree recipient Ronny Ziesmer told IG his new focus will be his "Alliance of Hope" foundation and training for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Ronny Ziesmer (Germany)
Zeismer, the 2003 German champion, broke his fifth and sixth veterbrae training a Tsukahara double back vault in July 2004. Now 32, he finished his Bachelor studies on Oct. 27 with a grade-point average of 1.74 (on a scale ranging from 1.0 best to 6.0 worst).
"I am really happy now," Ziesmer said. "After such a long time of learning, improving skills and became competent, I finally fulfilled one more important step in my life. Now the next challenges are already in front of me."
Ziesmer said he chose to study biotechnology to assist him in his work with Allianz der Hoffnung (Alliance of Hope), the research organization he founded. German Chancellor Angela Merkel serves as the organization's chairwoman.
"The major aim is to collect money for the research projects of nerve cell regeneration," Ziesmer said. "For me it's most important to be sure the audience will know what I am talking about if I talk. We are especially focusing our work on the central nervous system with its different spinal cord injuries."
Ziesmer said the Alliance of Hope is working closely with the Center for Neuronal Regeneration (CNR; www.cnr.de), a "global-unique" center established in Düsseldorf. "I will also bring in my studied skills to this center," he said.
Several factors contributed to Ziesmer's decision to study biotechnology, including his public relations work with the Alliance and his participation in research projects at the CNR, he said.
Ziesmer remains involved in gymnastics, although he is training in sports other than gymnastics with the goals of competing with the racing wheelchair at the 2016 Paralympics. He attends competitions in Germany and is a co-commentator for Second German Television.
"So the circle is complete," he told IG. "Bachelor of Science in biotechnology, foundation, CNR, sports and gymnastics."
External Link: Alliance for Hope Official Website
Read "Moving Forward," an interview with Ziesmer, in the January 2005 issue of International Gymnast maagzine. To order back issues, click here.