Para-athlete interview –Markus Rehm

20 Questions & Answers

Markus Rehm(Para Athletics) Markus Rehm(Para Athletics)
What is your name?
Markus Rehm.
Where are you from?
Leverkusen, Germany.
What is your sport?
The long jump for track and field.
When was your first Paralympic Games?
London 2012.
Did you win a medal?
I won a gold and a bronze.
How about in Rio 2016?
I won two gold medals.
Did you break any records?
I set a new Paralympic record.
How long have you been competing?
Since 2009.
Why did you start the long jump?
I have always been a long jumper.
What do you do before a competition?
I listen to music.
Where do you look when jumping?
I stare at the space ahead.
What’s the appeal of the long jump?
Freedom.
What other sports do you do?
Wakeboarding and snowboarding.
Do you know any Japanese?
arigato.
What Japanese food do you like?
Sushi and udon noodles.
What is your impression of Tokyo?
Innovative.
What is your favourite word?
Chance.
What is your least favourite word?
Disability.
How would you describe yourself?
Motivated. Ambitious.
What will you be doing in 2020?
I want to win a gold medal.

Interview

What would you say are the main attractions of Para-athletics or Para-athletes for people who are not very familiar with Paralympic events?

Well, first of all, Paralympic sports are very innovative sports. Then there are the abilities of the athletes, and the very latest technologies are used in the production of much of the equipment used by the athletes such as prosthetic limbs, etc. I think spectators should focus on the blend between human and technological capabilities, which can only be seen in the Paralympic Games.

With regard to Paralympians competing in the Olympic Games, how do you think that could become a reality in the future?

I think there are some Olympic events which Paralympians could already compete in. However, I think that it is important for the Olympics and Paralympics to work together on a number of issues before it could become a reality.

Do you have a particular rival in your event? And do you think that having a particular rival acts as further motivation?

My main rival is Ronald Hertog from the Netherlands. Whenever he posts great results, it always serves as extra motivation and makes try harder than ever. I see it as a real plus that I have a strong rival. Also, when I’m in a tough race, I always get extra motivation from many of my other rivals, but when we’re not competing we all get along really well.

I’m sure there are times during your training that you aren’t achieving the results that you want. What do you do to lift your spirits during such times?

When I’m training really hard, I often ask myself why I am doing sports. I am constantly trying to improve and raise the bar for myself, and my motivation is “second is not good enough, I must come first.” Another thing is that I would like to become a good role model for young people regardless of whether they have an impairment or not. I can hold up my various achievements for others to see, and I would like to think that when they see that it serves to motivate them to try hard and achieve their own goals.

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is aiming to make the Tokyo 2020 Games the most innovative in history. As an athlete who competed at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, what do you feel would constitute innovative Games from the athletes’ perspective?

Japan is a very innovative country, and has an outstanding reputation for the precision of its Games operations, etc. Japan clarifies exactly what it wants to achieve, and connects with new things. So I hope that Japan can come up with something really unexpected for the 2020 Games.

As the world record holder in your category, what would you define as the power of sport?

Teamwork, self-discipline, learning so many things through sports, and communicating with lots of people.
Also, competing with a variety of people can create a sense of unity. Thinking about sport in terms of diversity, I think it’s a wonderful medium.