Top of the Class: Ottobock’s Russell Pizzey talks running blades, racing wheelchairs and Paralympics at Wimbledon school

Ottobock Technical Services Manager Russell Pizzey recently visited Donhead Preparatory School in Wimbledon for a special assembly where he shared his 20 years of expertise in the prosthetics, orthotics and mobility industry alongside Paralympian Toby Gold.

Donhead teacher Olivia Rodrigues found the inspiration for this interactive assembly after she met Russell whilst volunteering at the World Para Athletics Championships in London this summer. She visited Ottobock’s stand at the event and learned about the extraordinary technology that supports the athletes to achieve their Paralympic dreams, from specially designed wheelchairs to state-of-the-art running blades.

Russell was delighted to visit the school and explain a little more about the products that Ottobock designs. He said, “This is a wonderful opportunity to inspire the next generation. Bringing young people into this industry is so important because they bring a fresh perspective, which is vital to a company like Ottobock that is constantly innovating and coming up with new ideas to help people with disabilities be active at every level.”

The experienced technician also showed the pupils a variety of the most ground-breaking and high performing sports equipment available to today’s para-athletes. This included a pair of rugby wheelchairs, a ProCarve prosthesis for snow and watersports and carbon fibre running blades. Russell was joined by Paralympic silver medallist wheelchair racer Toby Gold, a former pupil of the nearby Wimbledon College. Toby shared stories of his exciting athletic career and his plans for 2018, including defending his title at the European Athletics Championships next summer.

Russell also spoke to the pupils about the philosophy behind Ottobock’s relationship with the Paralympic Games, which next year celebrates its 30th anniversary. In addition to providing athletes with equipment, Ottobock has provided dedicated Technical Services at every Paralympic competition since 1988. Russell has worked in Technical Services at three Paralympic Games in London, Sochi and Rio, three Invictus Games and countless other competitions worldwide. The Ottobock Technical Services workshops are specially-designed areas where trained technicians like Russell repair, maintain or replace equipment that is causing issues for any competing athlete, regardless of nationality. Like the pit lane in motor-racing, the Technical Services area is designed to make the repairs process as seamless as possible, wasting no time in returning athletes to the action.

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