YOUR ULTIMATE CHOICE Articles
Heinz InnigerI had to conclude that something just wasn’t right with my left leg.
For the first time, at age 17, Heinz Inniger stood on a snowboard, and at 23 he was standing atop of the podium. In the middle of the night at 3:15 a.m. Heinz was able to call his wife on the phone and amid cheers, joyously report of his victory in the USA. Humbly he exclaimed, “After the two third-place finishes I hoped that I would have enough in me to reach the top spot on the podium. I would have conceded waiting yet another year to do so.”
It wasn’t an easy road for Heinz on his way to becoming a world-class snowboarder.
“At the age of 12 I suddenly had to conclude that something just wasn’t right with my left leg,” Heinz says. “The doctor’s diagnosis destroyed me: Perthes’ Disease! A rare disease. The doctor informed me that my hip was really near its end. In the region of Bern alone, only two people per year are given this diagnosis.”
Heinz had a brace made for him, just as we know it from the movie, “Forrest Gump.” His leg was not to have any stress put on it. “For 30 months I had to have that thing strapped on me,” Heinz says. “At school they called me Quasimodo. Besides swimming and bike riding, with one leg out of commission, I couldn’t do much.” It was during this time that Heinz often sensed a great deal of loneliness. “I had to hold myself back and protect myself. I lacked true friends who would stand by my side.”
Through the use of the brace the posture of the foot drastically deteriorated. A more involved surgery brought relief, as the length of the leg was adjusted by up to 2cm. Then, simply raising the heel could compensate for the difference.
“When I look at the x-rays these days, nothing but cold chills run down my spine,” Heinz says. “During this entire time my parents stood by my side. I was able to learn just how vital prayer is and what it means to patiently endure. Now I know: with God nothing is impossible!”
As a professional snowboarder this experience helps Heinz even now. “Daily I see that my physical condition limits my performance. My dependence on God is all the more real,” he says. “Even in moments that don’t go so well, I know this: with God all things are possible. I’ve come to realize what I am able to handle and where I can place my trust.”
Just as was the case with the Olympic Games in Turin (where Heinz placed fifth), the same holds true for Vancouver: “I first have to qualify, but I know that God has a good plan.”
Of course Heinz (who did not make the 2010 Swiss Olympic team) is competitive; however, he has found a key to success whether he wins or loses: “The most important thing for me is rejoicing in the success of others. In this manner others also find joy in my success. This puts me at ease.”
It’s rare enough for Heinz Inniger to trace his lonely tracks through the powder. What exhilaration—and each time he is filled with extreme gratitude and a joy for life. Knowing that nothing is impossible with God, he desires to also leave behind traces of this truth through his life.