David Behre

Our Drive Must Come from Within!

Motivating oneself, learning from setbacks? David Behre shares a lot of experience in this area. He is among the world's most successful paralympic athletes.

 
David Behre

On the Track or in the Office – Our Drive Must Come from Within!

Motivating oneself, learning from setbacks: David Behre shares a lot of experience in this area. The track-and-field athlete is among the world's most successful paralympic athletes – his disability is an opportunity for him today.

Martin Gruss

David Behre

is considered to be one of the world’s fastest sprint runners with below-knee prostheses.

Many will already know my story. But for everyone else, here’s a brief summary. On September 8, 2007, my life completely changed from one second to the next in a serious accident on a railroad crossing in Moers. I lost both feet and my lower legs in the accident. It was already clear to me back then that I was not going to give up. Never. I saw a documentary on TV that showed what form this might take. The program was about Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner from South Africa. I was fascinated by the way he ran. And I knew straight away that I wanted to do the same and had it in me. It was my deep inner desire, which has driven me ever since. This motivation will also take me as a sportsman to the Paralympics 2020 in Tokyo.

Not Every Step Was Easy

The road from the hospital to the 2012 Paralympics in London, followed by my winning the 400 meters at the 2015 World Championships in Doha and then the three medals at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, saw my dream turn into reality. But make no mistake – it’s not that every step of the way was easy. In fact, there were repeatedly situations when I despaired and asked myself why on Earth I was doing this. And my trainer got the sharp end of my tongue a few times as well. But we always agreed that we were going to see things through.

You can only keep on performing really well if you believe in what you are doing. It won’t always be a barrel of laughs and there will be days mired by lots of frustrations. At times like these, only your own motivation can keep you on course and offer you a way out.

Just in 2017, I suffered a couple of setbacks in the same way that any sportsperson does at some point in their career. The journey to Rio had taken more energy than I could have guessed. My body suddenly went on strike. I had to withdraw from the World Championships in London and then take quite a long break. But after that I could tell that my batteries were gradually recharging. So I never contemplated giving up what I love – running as fast as possible. We have now been back in training for quite some time and I will be giving my all during the run-up to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. I want to see the journey that I started on September 8, 2007 right through to the end.

Landwirte auf einem Rapsfled

A lot of motivation: Markus Rehm, David Behre, Felix Streng and Johannes Floors (f.l.) celebrate after winning the gold medal in the Men's 4x100m at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil.

The Own Motivation Can Keep You On Course

Sport is my livelihood, and it’s different from many other activities. But one thing we all have in common is that whether you are fighting for every tenth of a second on the track or working in an office to ensure that a company or department functions properly, you can only keep on performing really well if you believe in what you are doing. It won’t always be a barrel of laughs and there will be days mired by lots of frustrations. At times like these, only your own motivation can keep you on course and offer you a way out. I was lucky back then to be able to liberate myself from circumstances that completely changed my life from one second to the next. I chanced upon the documentary about Pistorius. But it was already certain that I was never going to give up. I am keen to pass on this experience to others, both now and after my active sporting career has come to an end. Motivation, ways out and solutions are things that all of us need.