When Olympians and Paralympians showcase their incredible skill, what does it look like from their point of view? Many people probably wonder as they watch in awe as their favourite athletes compete for the biggest prizes. Tokyo 2020 introduces the ‘Let’s 55 Virtual Experience’, a project that provides an innovative experience of what it actually looks like to compete as a top-level athlete, covering all 55 sports on the Tokyo 2020 Games programme.
KIMURA Keiichi participated in three Paralympic Games - Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016. He won four medals in Rio, which made him the top Japanese athlete for the number of medals won. But his goal at Tokyo 2020 is clear: to win his first Paralympic gold medal.
Try the virtual experience of his dynamic jump into the water and his powerful swim. We asked Kimura, who is blind, about the attractions of the sport he excels in.
You can swim fast with the right skills, even if you have an impairment
"It’s easy to understand the swimmer’s impairment in Para swimming because we don’t use any equipment. You can tell right away by the way we swim. Each swimmer has a different impairment so they’ll use different skills to swim faster. You’ll understand it better if you pay attention to the way each swimmer moves and uses his or her body. There are aspects that make it more interesting than the Olympic Games, so I hope everyone looks for these unique qualities."
"You have a certain impairment so you strengthen other body parts, and you can improve your performance. With a bit of work and skill, you can swim faster and become stronger. I think the stronger you become, the more you can showcase the infinite possibilities of human beings. The best thing about swimming is that it’s easy to demonstrate what we are capable of with our bodies.
"Swimming is a simple sport, and you can enjoy it in various ways if you just try. You can aim to swim faster or master a new form. There are different strokes to learn as well. Everyone can enjoy swimming as they like. If you can find what you enjoy about swimming, you will definitely improve."