Mareike Miller about the honor to become the German Para-Team of the Decade

#RoadToTokyo: Mareike Miller about the honor to become the German Para-Team of the Decade

Road to Tokyo - 04. Dec 20

The German women’s wheelchair basketball national team was named the Para-Team of the Decade this past weekend. Throughout the voting process by the German Disabled Sports Federation (DBS) in November, over 10.000 people participated. Mareike Miller has thought about this privilege for us. The Account-Manager of news aktuell competes for the German women’s wheelchair basketball national team since 2010.

Mareike Miller Account Manager news aktuell
Mareike Miller, Account Manager at news aktuell

2020 has been a very challenging year in which sports had to and has to fight many setbacks as competitions are canceled or rescheduled all around the world. Thus, of all years, now it is the time to look back. And just because there have been less competitions and successes in 2020, it clearly doesn’t mean there aren’t any successful athletes.

Somewhat close to this must have been the thoughts of the majority of sport associations and media when swiftly announcing this year the most successful athletes and team of the decade and not year will be chosen. This is a great and important token especially now because finally some highlights can be told and not another cancellation reported. It also allows athletes to take a look at the bigger picture and see more than the current frustrating restricted home training. It creates motivation to repeat the success or experience them as well when seeing the great emotions of other athletes achieving incredible titles. This glimmer of hope and excitement can move mountains regarding an athlete’s performance.

What are ten years?!

A decade sounds like an eternity. Technically on average it is merely an eighth of a lifetime. For an athlete’s career however, it is usually much more. Due to the heavy physical strain of professional sports many exceptional talents end their career in sports in the mid 20s or at the latest mid 30s. Often, they have been able to compete amongst the world leaders of their sport for only a few years by then.  

Michael Phelps, the phenomenal swimmer from the U.S., who managed to compete in his first Olympic Games already at 15 years old, ended his career after the Olympic Games 2012 when he was 27 years old for example. After only two years he chose to make a comeback in 2014 and yet this also lasted only two year until his final retirement. Thus, he still „only” competed close to one and a half decades at the top world stage.

If we look at this timeframe in years however, 14 years can be seen as a really long period with incredible highlights year after year. Especially athletes who are supposed to think only from competition to competition or game to game every year, experience these years intensively. Additionally, there’s always something next: the next game, the next competition. It barely leaves time to look back. Of course, everyone enjoys winning a gold medal at the Olympic or Paralympic Games with family and friends or treats oneself to a nice getaway to rest. In reality, there is never enough time to really let it sink in and realize what any of the successes actually stands for.

Looking back defeat has a purpose

Throughout the memories, especially across a longer timeframe, we can’t only see successes but often remember losses as well. However, only in retrospect we are able to see and comprehend how for example an extremely close loss of a World Championships final in 2010, made us able to retrieve the strength and motivation for a European Championship title and Paralympic Games gold medal in 2011 and 2012 – a particularly great memory. The review of a longer period of time makes it possible to realize how much effort and energy it demanded to surpass oneself. The persuasion and motivation to inspire each other to extraordinary performances is an incomparable experience that can help us in areas of life beyond the decade as well.

For me personally it is something incredibly special to have started the decade and my debut at the World Championships 2010 with an already successful team. Until today during the rescheduled preparation for Tokyo 2020 being a part of the German Para-Team of the Decade is an incredible honor. It was a pleasure to be interviewed along with my teammate Maya Lindholm and review some of these highlights in a short video (in German):

In 2021, the start to another decade, we will now begin full of new energy and high hopes for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2021. The summer is still far away and much can happen. But I really hope the #RoadToTokyo can finally be resumed and gain traction to allow us to return to the largest stage for Paralympic sport to fight for the 15th medal in a row for the German women’s wheelchair basketball national team.

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