Susana Schnarndorf

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Susana Schnarndorf
Susana Schnarndorf 2015.jpg
Brazilian Paralympic Swimmer Susana Schnarndorf during a photo shoot in 2015 at Barra da Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Personal information
BornOctober 12, 1967, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Years active1990–2018
SportParalympic Swimming
DisabilityMultiple System Atrophy
Disability classS4, SB5, SM4
ClubGrêmio Náutico União

Susana Schnarndorf Ribeiro (Porto Alegre, October 12, 1967) is a Brazilian Paralympic swimmer. In 2005, after a lengthy triathlon career, at the age of 37, Schnarndorf began to experience the first symptoms of a mysterious degenerative disease that was later diagnosed as multiple system atrophy (MSA). After a break from professional athletics, Schnarndorf returned to the sports world as a swimmer and is presently a member of the Brazilian Paralympic Swimming Team.[1][2]

Professional life[edit]

Susana began her swimming career at age of 11 in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul,[3] under the coaching of Mauri Fonseca.[4] She was a five-time Brazilian triathlon champion, competing in numerous races between 1993 and 1997.[5][6] Susana competed in the1995 Pan American Games in Mar Del Plata, Argentina.[7] She moved to Rio de Janeiro and married Brazilian triathlete Alexandre Ribeiro,[8][9] with whom she participated in several international triathlon competitions.[10] Susana competed in a total of 13 WTC Ironman Triathlons,[6] winning six of them. Along with Alexandre Ribeiro, Susana had three children: Kaillani, Kaipo and Maila.[11] However, in 2005, just a few months after the birth of her daughter, the couple divorced.[12] Later that year, Schnarndorf began to feel the first symptoms of a mysterious degenerative disease that was later diagnosed as Multiple System Atrophy.[13][14]

Susana won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, representing her country of Brazil in the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay category.[1][15]

Multiple System Atrophy[edit]

It took several years before Schnarndorf received the correct diagnosis of Multiple System Atrophy.[1] Her condition worsened in 2008, when she lost coordination of the left side of her body. As a result of her progressive disability, Schnarndorf was unable to raise her three children alone, causing them to move into their father's home.[1][2] Multiple system atrophy (MSA) causes degeneration of multiple parts of the nervous system and results in muscle rigidity, incoordination, and a progressive decline in function of vital organs such as the lungs and heart.[16][17][18] Neurological damage is irreversible and permanent. The life expectancy varies from 5 to 10 years.[18]

Paralympic sport[edit]

Swimming at 2012 paralympics in London

After a period of profound depression, Schnarndorf joined the Brazilian Paralympic Swimming team in 2010.[6] Susana was Brazilian champion and record holder in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and 200m medley between 2010 and 2012.[6][7] In London 2012 Summer Paralympics, she was fourth place in the 100m breaststroke (SB7)[19] and fifth in the 200m medley (SM7).[20][21] In 2013, she won the 100m freestyle world championship in the SB6 category[22] at the IPC Paralympic World Swimming Championships in Montreal, Canada.[23][24] Susana received the award for best female athlete, also in 2013, at the Paralympic Prize in Rio de Janeiro.[25][26] On September 9, 2016, Schnarndorf won the silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, in the 4x50m freestyle mixed relay, along with swimmers like Daniel Dias, Joana Silva and Clodoaldo Silva on September 9, 2016.[15]


In 2016, Schnarndorf was featured in the documentary '4All'[27] along with other well-known Brazilian paralympians.[28][29][30]

Support for research and charity[edit]

In September 2017, a US non-governmental organisation, Defeat MSA[31] established the 'Susana Schnarndorf MSA Legacy Fund'[32] with an aim to raise money for medical education, scientific research and support for MSA patients, especially those suffering from the disease in South America.


  1. ^ a b c d BBC (September 8, 2016). ""Corpo está parando": nadadora luta contra doença rara – Olimpíadas – iG". Esporte (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  2. ^ a b "Susana Schnarndorf – Portal Brasil 2016". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  3. ^ "GaúchaZH". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  4. ^ "Pronta para um novo desafio – Renata Spallicci". Renata Spallicci (in Portuguese). January 8, 2016. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  5. ^ "Natação Paralímpica: De olho em 2016, Vasco fecha com 2 campeões mundiais". SuperVasco (in Portuguese). November 8, 2017. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  6. ^ a b c d "Nadadora paralímpica brasileira corre contra o relógio". O Globo (in Portuguese). July 21, 2016. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  7. ^ a b "Campeã mundial paralímpica de natação se prepara para importante torneio em Berlim". O Globo (in Portuguese). March 28, 2015. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  8. ^ "Alexandre Ribeiro: 20 anos do melhor tempo no Havaí | MundoTRI Triathlon". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  9. ^ Totti, Iúri. "Nadadora paraolímpica é destaque da Travessia dos Fortes | Pulso – O Globo". Pulso – O Globo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  10. ^ "Ex-triatleta consagrada agora brilha nas piscinas e maratonas aquáticas | Esporte Alternativo – O site de quem pratica esportes !". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  11. ^ Esquenta! | Nadadora Susana Schnarndorf Ribeiro conta história de superação | Globo Play (in Portuguese), retrieved 2017-11-08
  12. ^ Esporte Espetacular | Mulheres Espetaculares: conheça a história surpreendente de Susana Schnarndorf | Globo Play (in Portuguese), retrieved 2017-11-08
  13. ^ Jogos Paralímpicos | Susana Schnarndorf, que já disputou Ironman, participa das Paralimpíadas | Globo Play (in Portuguese), retrieved 2017-11-08
  14. ^ "12 Things You May Not Have Known About This Year's Paralympic Athletes". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  15. ^ a b "Susana Schnarndorf – Portal Brasil 2016". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  16. ^ França, Adriele Ribeiro; Filho, Antônio de Souza Andrade (August 3, 2015). "ATROFIA DE MÚLTIPLOS E O SINAL DA CRUZ: UM RELATO DE CASO". Revista Brasileira de Neurologia e Psiquiatria. 19 (1).
  17. ^ "Multiple System Atrophy: Background, Etiology and Pathophysiology, Epidemiology". July 19, 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Multiple System Atrophy Fact Sheet | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke". Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  19. ^ "Swimming at the 2012 Summer Paralympics – Women's 100-metre breaststroke SB7". Wikipedia. August 10, 2016.
  20. ^ "Swimming at the 2012 Summer Paralympics – Women's 200-metre individual medley SM7". Wikipedia. August 10, 2016.
  21. ^ "'Mulher de ferro' ignora previsão de morte para vencer em Londres". Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  22. ^ "Results: (Swimming) Women's 100m Breaststroke SB6 Final". Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  23. ^ "Best of Brazil heading to Glasgow 2015". Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  24. ^ "2013 IPC Swimming World Championships". Wikipedia. August 14, 2017.
  25. ^ "Daniel Dias e Susana Schnarndorf vencem Prêmio Paralímpicos 2013". (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  26. ^ "Dias, Schnarndorf Ribeiro voted best para-athletes of 2013 in Brazil". Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  27. ^ "Filme PARATODOS". PARATODOS (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  28. ^ "'Paratodos', documentário sobre atletas paralímpicos brasileiros, é disponibilizado na Netflix". HuffPost Brasil (in Portuguese). August 26, 2016. Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  29. ^ "Filme 'Paratodos' retrata a superação do paratleta brasileiro – Esportes – Estadão". Estadão (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  30. ^ Matheus. ""Paratodos" contra a lei da gravidade". CartaCapital (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-11-08.
  31. ^ "Defeat MSA – #kickmsa #defeatmsa #defeatmsafdn #multiplesystematrophy #multiplesystemsatrophy #msa". Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  32. ^ "Six New Defeat MSA Legacy Grants Announced – Defeat MSA". Retrieved 2017-11-09.

External links[edit]

  • [1] Susana Schnarndorf – Official website
  • Susana Ribeiro Rio 2016 Paralympic Games profile