“I have a very particular relationship with my prosthesis. It is literally part of me. What a better way to get support for the Tokyo Paralympics than this?”
Daniel Dias will travel to Tokyo for the Paralympic Games next year in full Japanese style. The 14-time Paralympic champion swimmer has received a special prosthetic leg from Ottobock featuring a manga version of himself.
Dias is one of the ambassadors of the Worldwide Paralympic Partner, which is the world-leading supplier of innovative solutions for people with limited mobility. He received the new gift last week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from manga artist Michel Borges.
“I have a very particular relationship with my prosthesis. It is literally part of me. What a better way to get support for the Tokyo Paralympics than this?” said the Brazilian swimmer.
“I would like to thank Ottobock for the partnership and to give me such a beautiful prosthesis. It is cool and comfortable. This technology makes a lot of difference in my quality of life. I'm flattered by the affection they had to design it.”
Sao Paulo is home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan and Borges is one of Brazil’s main illustrators of manga, the comic style born in the Asian country.
Borges said his inspiration to draw the prosthetic leg came from Dias’ sport and a famous Japanese print.
“I got inspired by Daniel’s sport, swimming, and a well-known piece from the 19th century called the Great Wave of Kanagawa. It is very traditional and iconic. As the Games will be in Japan, it also refers to the battle athletes face – especially Daniel, who faces different challenges,” Borges explained.
It was the first time the artist had the chance to create an illustration for a prosthesis.
“I like to get out of the basics and it was very new to me to make an artistic intervention on a prosthesis of a Paralympic athlete like Daniel. I was excited when Ottobock contacted me and said yes immediately,” he added.
Ricardo Oliveira, Ottobock Brazil Managing Director, said the company wanted to create a symbol of the desire for success of the athlete in preparation for the Games in Tokyo next year.
"Daniel Dias represents our essence: high performance and excellence. Ottobock is celebrating 100 years in the world market. An industry that brings high-tech prosthesis and orthosis so that not only athletes, but also anyone else can seek independence,” Oliveira said.
For Dias, the new challenge ahead will be the London 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in September, a step further in the preparation to his fourth Paralympics.
“I am already in the mood for the Games. Congratulations to Michel for the design. I loved my manga version. I look prettier and younger!”