People Profile: Balian Buschbaum
Balian Buschbaum was a pole vaulter who competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Born as Yvonne in 1980, Buschbaum grew up in Ulm, Germany. He was aware of his male identity during his early childhood. Dysphoria would hit him hard at puberty, so much to the effect that he began a workout regimen that was to exceed what his body was capable of. He was determined to keep his breasts from developing and wanted to suppress menstruation.
Buschbaum would find his passion in pole vaulting. By the age of 18, he would begin have success in the sport, medaling in various national and international championships. It would culminate with him competing in the 2000 Olympic Games, where he would finish 6th in the women’s pole vault. He contributes his anger over being uncomfortable in his body as the reason for his success. He would later suffer a ruptured achilles tendon, requiring a series of operations.
“I feel as if I am a man and have to live my life in the body of a woman. I am aware of the fact that transsexuality is a fringe issue, and I do not want to be responsible for it remaining on the fringe.”
His time away from the sport while recuperating would be a period of soul searching and reflection. In 2007 he would make the decision to transition. On Christmas day of that year, he began Hormone Replacement Therapy. Because of the implications of injecting himself with testosterone, he was ultimately giving up his career as world-class pole vaulter
Buschbaum would announce his new identity as Balian in January 2008. He became a coach with the German Athletics Federation. This sport that he left behind was more addicting than he had realized, but ultimately and he and the GAF would part ways in 2010
“Courage is the road to freedom. I woke up in complete freedom today. The sky is wide open.”
Since his separation from the sport, Buschbaum has authored two books, ‘Blue Eyes are Blue’ in March of 2010 and ‘Women Want to Talk’ in March of 2013. He also starred in the German reality dance show, ‘Let’s Dance 2013’. Today he is a motivational speaker and driven by happiness as he travels the world.
Balian wrote in 2009. “Courage is the road to freedom. I woke up in complete freedom today. The sky is wide open.” This freedom has truly allowed him to find his passion from being assigned female at birth and driven by rage, to a man driven by happiness.