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RIPA Helene
Sport Para biathlon, Para Canoe Sprint, Para cross-country
NPC Sweden   
GenderWomen
Age51
Place of BirthStockholm, SWE
Height1.71 m
Weight 58 kg
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Limb deficiency
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
KL3
Further Personal Information
Family
Husband Ronnie Pettersson
Languages
English, Swedish
Higher education
Graphic Design - Stockholm University: Sweden
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
She took up the sport in 2015.
Why this sport?
"Paddling started to supplement my cross-country skiing. I needed something new to push me to continue to train hard. After encouragement from the Swedish Canoe Federation, in September 2015 I started a serious commitment to the [2016] World Championships in Duisburg with the hope of taking a quota place for the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio. I love the freedom of paddling, enjoying nature and the beautiful surroundings. There is nothing better than to train outdoors, whether it's on the water or on snow. The combination of long, peaceful recreational workouts to replenish your energy and tough interval workouts where the lactic acid sprays are the best of both worlds."
Club / Team
Haninge SOK: Stockholm, SWE
General Interest
Hobbies
Mountain biking, swimming. (Facebook page, 24 Aug 2016; heleneripa.wordpress.com, 28 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
Her husband Ronnie Pettersson. (Athlete, 07 Mar 2014; canoeicf.com, 01 Jan 2017)
Hero / Idol
Swedish cross-country skier Daniel Richardsson. (Athlete, 07 Mar 2014)
Injuries
In March 2019 she had surgery on a herniated disc and did not return to competition until 2021. (tellerreport.com, 15 May 2021)

In October 2014 she strained muscles in her foot while training. (paralympic.org, 23 Jan 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Everything is possible." (Athlete, 07 Mar 2014)
Awards and honours
She was Sweden's flag bearer at the closing ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. (paralympic.org, 16 Mar 2014)
Other sports
She competed in swimming at the 1992 Paralympic Games in Barcelona. She won a gold and a silver medal in cross-country skiing at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi. (heleneripa.wordpress.com, 28 Nov 2019; paralympic.org, 01 Dec 2016; SportsDeskOnline, 10 Aug 2021)
Ambitions
To win a medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (svt.se, 11 May 2021)
Impairment
Her right leg was amputated above the knee in 1986 after she was diagnosed with cancer. "When I was 14, I had problems with pain in my right knee. It was not so bad at first, but the pain and swelling got worse and worse. After about six months I was referred to hospital, where it was discovered that I had cancer and my leg was amputated. I had no chemotherapy or radiation, just Interferon intramuscularly once a day for five years, as well as blood tests and chest X-rays once a month for the first year and later more often. I was declared healthy after 10 years." (Facebook page, 24 Aug 2016; Athlete, 07 Mar 2014; handikappidrott.se, 02 Feb 2014)
Other information
POSITIVE POSTPONEMENT
In 2019 she required surgery on a herniated disc, and so if the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo had gone ahead as planned in 2020 she would have been unable to compete. She turns age 50 two days before the opening ceremony of the Games. "It was great that it was pushed back for me considering that I had surgery on my neck in March 2019 and I was in a bit of a hurry to catch up with the qualifiers. I can get more speed in my paddling so I would say that I am in the best shape I have ever been." (svt.se, 11 May 2021)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Paralympic Games - Para cross-country
Rank Year Event Result
1 2014 15km Classic Style - Standing 54:09.1
15 2014 1km Sprint Freestyle - Standing 6:20.60
2 2014 4 x 2.5km Relay Mixed 27:44.3 
15 2014 5km Freestyle - Standing 17:50.1
World Championships - Para cross-country
Rank Year Event Result
1 2012/2013 1km Sprint - Standing  
  2012/2013 15km - Standing  DNS
4 2012/2013 4 x 2.5km Relay Mixed 29:42.4
3 2012/2013 5km - Standing 16:43.4
2 2014/2015 1km Sprint - Standing  
3 2014/2015 5km - Standing 17:02.8
12 2016/2017 1km Sprint - Standing  
2 2016/2017 4 x 2.5km Relay Mixed 27:17.5
7 2016/2017 15km - Standing 1:00:31.9
Paralympic Games (Overall) - Para Canoe Sprint
Rank Year Event Result
5 2016 Kayak single KL3 200m 52.492
5 2021 Kayak single KL3 200m 52.307 
World Championships - Para Canoe Sprint
Rank Year Event Result
9 2016 Kayak single KL3 200m 57.262
7 2017 Kayak single KL3 200m 52.994
1 2018 Kayak single KL3 200m 53.671
10 2019 Kayak single KL3 200m 51.03
9 2021 Kayak single KL3 200m 52.08
European Championships - Para Canoe Sprint
Rank Year Event Result
1 2016 Kayak single KL3 200m 51.432
3 2017 Kayak single KL3 200m 54.940
1 2018 Kayak single KL3 200m 51.027