Ziv Better carefully prepares for his training session. Every movement in front of the edge of the pool seems carefully chosen. The routine gives him stability. Only when the 57-year-old reaches the water does the tension disappear. Better is back in an element that he knows and in which he can feel free. The successful Israeli para-swimmer, runner-up at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, swims his laps with sheer carefree ease – all under the watchful gaze of his guide dog, whom he jokingly named “Much Better”. Better, a veteran of the Israeli army, cannot take away his humor and joy of life – even though he once forcibly lost his sight.
“It happened during the first Lebanon war in 1982,” Better remembers. “We were deployed in southern Lebanon. Some soldiers were injured in an unmarked minefield. My team was supposed to save her, but while trying to do so, a mine exploded next to me.” Better lost 90 percent of his vision due to shrapnel. At the Beit Halochem rehabilitation center in Tel Aviv, like many other wounded Israeli soldiers, he found a new perspective thanks to sport.