KIRSTEN BRUHN - SWIMMER
Kirsten Bruhn has been a swimmer since she was thee years old. She took up competitive swimming at the age of 10 and won numerous national competitions as a Junior. After finishing college in 1990 she went as an Au-Pair girl to the United States. Following that she planned to take up her studies for Graphik and Design. The motorcycle accident in Greece in 1991 changed her life completely.
Her boyfriend convinced her to take a trip through the mountains when they were cut off by a car. It took 40 hrs. to get the badly injured 21 year old Kirsten back to Germany where she was finally operated. Since then she is paralyzed and in a wheelchair.
It took Kirsten 10 years to fight her way back into life. 10 years where she was looking for therapies and possibilities to work through her desperation to get something back, that once was. “Sooner or later it dawned on me that I needed to concentrate on what was still there and what I could make of it”.
Swimming seemd to be a good solution and she had the best team that she could wish for. Her talent was there since her youth and her father Manfred Bruhn who is a passionate swimming coach supported her professionally, while her mother helped her mentally. Kirsten Bruhn started her Paralympic career in 2002 when she participated at the International German Swimming Competitions of the Disabled in Berlin. That was the beginning of an outstanding career. On Sept. 24, 2004 Kirsten won her first Gold medal for 100m breaststroke at the Paralympic Games in Athens. She was irritated at first and thought” How can that be? The worst day in my life in Greece now takes me back to Greece again for my biggest triumph in life”.
Up until today Kirsten has set 50 world records and still belongs to the top Paralympic swimmers worldwide. While practicing roughly 25 hrs. a week she also works at the press department at a hospital of the German Social Accident Insurance in Berlin. She also works as a motivational coach and is invited by companies to talk about life’s challenges. She openly speaks about her accident and what helped her to master her challenges. ”You are what you are thinking. I have learned that I need to step away from my handicap and reinvent myself for what I am capable of doing. And action follows the thought”.