Students, alumni, faculty and staff celebrated Frankfurt School’s Bachelor student Sönke Rothenberger yesterday. He had won the gold medal in the dressage team competition at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He is enrolled in the Bachelor in International Management and now in his seventh semester.
Frankfurt School President Professor Dr Udo Steffens was delighted that, for the first time ever, a student of FS had been nominated to take part in Olympic Games and had then even won the gold medal. He and all guests congratulated him cordially and applauded for several minutes. Jokingly, FS President Steffens said that a new claim for the school was due: “Frankfurt School – where gold medal winners study!”
On stage with Professor Steffens, Sönke Rothenberger frankly talked about his time and experiences in Rio, how he had dealt with nervousness at the tournament. He also praised his horse Cosmo. He emphasised the partnership between the rider and the horse and outlined the horse’s immense contribution to success. He said: “A rider without a horse is just a person. But a horse without a rider is still a horse”.
Guests were interested to learn how he managed to balance his sports activities and his studies at Frankfurt School. Sönke Rothenberger explained that good time management and the need to coordinate exams and tournaments were essential. He also emphasised the great support that he received from his family and his team. These factors were the basis for his life as a student and a professional rider. He frankly admitted that keeping the balance was not always easy, especially, when his friends were going out and he had to train his horses. But he added that his long-term goals would motivate him to continue riding and that he greatly enjoyed his sports and his life.
Asked for his plans for the future, Sönke Rothenberger stated that he planned to continue riding Cosmo who was still young – only nine years old. However, he also wants to pursue a “traditional” career. Being a professional rider solely, one was forced to sell one’s best horses – something Sönke Rothenberger cannot imagine for himself. “In my family it is mandatory to obtain a good education”, he said. His studies, and not riding, had the top priority.
As a consequence, he wants to do a Master’s course at Frankfurt School right after earning the Bachelor’s degree. “I like Frankfurt School and enjoy the spirit of the Frankfurt School family”, he explained his decision. With regard to his career plans he said: “My grandfather was and my parents are entrepreneurs. Maybe I start my own business or I will work in our family company.”
“Sönke Rothenberger is a great example of what one can achieve, even at a young age, when one works hard and has clear goals”, concluded Frankfurt School President Professor Dr Udo Steffens.
After the talk, many guests took the opportunity to talk to Sönke Rothenberger personally and had their pictures taken with him and his gold medal.