Beyond winning medals, Germany's Markus Rehm has a mission: to bring a bigger spotlight to Paralympic Games whilst fighting for more sports inclusion
Markus Rehm otherwise known as the 'Blade Jumper' cemented his status as one of the best athletes in the world after clinching his third straight gold medal in the men's long jump T64 after winning in the same event in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
"Just being on the first step of the podium again. I got really emotional up there. You just think of the years that went into that. It's such a nice reward to have this gold medal around your neck. It's a super-special moment," Rehm told OIS.
"For more than 10 years I've been unbeaten. Also breaking the world record this year, I mean 8.62m - this was something really special. Only 14 people in the world jumped further, that's not so many," the athlete said reflecting on his career.
But more than the accolades, the athlete has a personal mission to bring more spotlight to the Paralympic Games and Para sports in general.
"All those people who watch the Paralympic Games and who love the Paralympic Games, they watch it already. But there are so many (other people) out there, and I'm sure they would love it as well, if you just show them our sport and tell them, 'guys, this is a cool sport, just watch it'."
"They'd be like, 'oh yeah, you're right, that's fun. I'm gonna watch it next time'. I would like to use a bigger platform for our sport," the 33-year-old athlete added.
In fact, one of Rehm's wishes is to bring the Olympic and Paralympic Games closer.
"It's still the fight for inclusion in sports, the goal to bring the Olympic and Paralympic sports closer together."
"I would like to bring the athletes closer, that we would compete together sometimes. We would use the same stage, we'd represent our sports together, because that's what we all do, athletics. We should also promote it together, why not?," Rehm said.
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Rehm jumped 8.62m this year which exceeded qualification standards for the Olympics. He made a bid to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo before they commenced. He clarified what this really meant for him.
"People always think that to compete at the Olympic Games is my ultimate dream. It's not true. My ultimate goal is to make our sport even bigger and using the Olympic stage is just one step."
As for the next Paralympic Games which will be held in Paris, the athlete has decided that he would like to make it his career swan song.
"[At first] I wasn't sure if I would continue until Paris. But now we are here, I think I have to go there. It's one year less, it's only three years."
"Next year there are the world championships, so then only two years left and I can't stop right before. That would be a nice end of my career."