Young people from a club for swimmers with disabilities in Rio de Janeiro meet their hero Daniel Dias.
Ottobock ambassador

Daniel Dias

Para swimmer Daniel Dias is Brazil’s most successful athlete in the last decade. In 2016 he was awarded the “Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability”.


Daniel, who was born with deformities in his upper and lower limbs, did not learn to swim until he was 16 years old. Within just two months, he had mastered all four strokes. Two years later he entered his first international competition – the IPC Swimming World Championships in Durban, South Africa – where he won three gold and two silver medals.

Daniel comes from Campinas, north of São Paulo, and has celebrated more successes than any other Brazilian athlete in the last decade. Having garnered incredible 27 medals at recent Paralympic Games (from Beijing 2008 through to Tokyo 2020), his achievements as a Paralympic athlete are potentially record-breaking. At the 2008 Beijing Games alone, he won nine medals – four of which were gold. This winning streak continued at the IPC World Championships in 2010 in Eindhoven, where he won eight gold medals and one silver medal.

At London in 2012, Daniel won a further six titles – all in world record time. And at the Paralympic Games in Rio 2016 he added four gold medals, three silver and two bronze medals. With three more bronze medals, he made it to the podium in Tokyo.

In 2019, at the Parapan American Games in Lima, he gained his thirtieth Parapan American title.

“Keep smiling! A smile can change a person´s day and life. So spread the joy and create a better and more happy environment around you."

As a ambassador Daniel wants to share his history and victories to motivate others, showing them that the impairment is just a feature, and that it does not describe the person at all.

"Inside each person there is a power that can shine and make great achievements. I really hope that my success will encourage young people with disabilities to take up swimming.”

Daniel Dias, Para swimmer and Ottobock ambassador

Ottobock Ambassador Daniel Dias is Brazil's best Paralympic ever.
Ottobock ambassador Daniel Dias is Brazil’s best Paralympic athlete of all time

A role model for the next generation

But Daniel hasn’t finished yet. Before the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, he stepped forwards as an ambassador for Brazil. Not only does he want the whole world to hear about the Paralympic Games; he also wants to inspire the next generation of Paralympic athletes.

“Inspiring people is a priceless privilege. Breaking down barriers, motivating people – including people with disabilities – and helping young athletes are all difficult tasks, but I find them immensely rewarding.”

In 2009, 2013 and 2016, Daniel was awarded the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability for his impressive achievements in the pool and for his commitment to helping young people with disabilities.

Key facts

  • Nation: Brasil
  • Year of birth: 1988
  • Sport: Para Swimming
  • Classification: S5, SB4 and SM5
  • Coach: Igor Russi
  • Club: Daniel Dias Institute

Victories and achievements

  • 27 medal at Paralympic Games, 14 of those are gold medals
  • Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020:
    • Bronze medals on 100 m und 200 m freestyle and in the 4 x 50 m freestyle relay
    • 4th place on 50 m freestyle
    • 5th place on 50 m backstroke
    • 6th place on 50 m butterfly
  • Paralympic Games Rio 2016:
    • Gold medals on 50, 100 und 200 m freestyle and 50 m backstroke
    • Silver medals on 100 m breaststroke, in the 4x50 m and 4x100 m freestyle relay
    • Bronze medals on 50 m butterfly and in the 4x100 m medley relay
  • Paralympic Games London 2012:
    • Gold medals on 50, 100 and 200 m freestyle, 50 m backstroke, 50 m butterfly and 100 m breaststroke
  • Paralympic Games Beijing 2008:
    • Gold medals on 100 and 200 m freestyle, 50 m backstroke and 200 m individual medley
  • 40 medals at Para Swimming World Championships, 30 of those are gold medals
  • 3 x Winner of the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

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