Wir Alle Können (We All Can) reflects the many success stories of people with disabilities who overcame barriers to succeed in their professional careers. Andreas Onea is one of them!
Andreas Onea is an Austrian Paralympic swimmer. He represented Austria at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Paralympics. This 28-year-old man from Mödling, had a car accident at the age of 6 in which he lost his left arm. Since then, nothing is the same, how he likes to say – it changed him for the better. Through everything he has gone through in life, he helps other people to overcome certain situations in their life. Immediately after the accident, he started swimming for therapeutic purposes. Soon after, Andreas began showing exceptional results and achievements.
The biggest challenge in swimming at the beginning was to get some people to accept that I can swim with able-bodied swimmers at the same competitions. I also had to learn to swim, as I was a non-swimmer before the accident.
He won six bronze and three silver medals at World and European Championships and one bronze medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. In 2008, he held the world record for 50 m breaststroke on the short course. In 2012, he won the B-final over 200 m breaststroke at the national championships of the non-disabled Austrian Swimming Federation. At the World Series event taking place in Berlin this year, Andreas won the 200-meter butterfly World Cup for the first time.
Today, I am grateful that through swimming, I can show that a disability does not necessarily mean a reduced quality of life and that you can still work, or even more, achieve your goals and dreams.
In addition to being able to swim fast, Andreas is a great listener and motivational speaker. He is proud of the fact that he was able to impact people in a meaningful way with his life story and inspiring them. For the integration of people with disabilities into the world of sports, Andreas states the importance of accessibility, visibility, and open minds. Through his role as a moderator and speaker, this makes a great contribution.
Since October 2012, Andreas, together with Miriam Labus, moderates a sports show for people with disabilities called “Ohne Grenzen”, which airs every 14 days on the ORF Sport + channel. The aim of the show is to highlight the personal stories and successes of people with disabilities who are athletes through TV Media.
I want to reach as many people with my story and my message. I want to be an example that it is possible to do something meaningful that has an impact as a person with a disability.
In his spare time, he enjoys listening to Podcasts, loves technology and reading.
Limits? I’ve never seen any, only in some people’s minds.