She lost both of her legs above the knee at the age of 15 in a train accident. In 2009 she began training with the German Paralympic team.
She is the only actively competing female track athlete with two above knee amputations of her legs. Despite the severity of these amputations and despite, having to compete with athletes having one fully functional leg, Vanessa successfully made it to the finals of all of her sprint and long jump competitions at both the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.
In Rio Vanessa won the Gold medal with a 4.93m world record distance in the long jump and a Silver medal in the 100m competition
Vanessa also finished a degree in audio-visual media design while she was working as a television editor in Germany. She currently working towards a Bachelor of Science in digital media from an University in Germany.