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Alpine Skier Momoka Muraoka —A Para Athlete Story

* This is an article covering Momoka Muraoka before the PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games in the fall of 2017, published in Parasport Magazine Vol. 2.

Momoka Muraoka won the Super G (women's sitting) at the World Cup Hakuba in March 2017, and now aims for a PyeongChang medal. Today we had a chance to see her charming non-competing side, very different from the intense concentration she shows during races.

She tours for about half of the year, and spends the other half living in the dorm of her university's ski club.
"Normally I wake up at 6:00. We have a dorm morning assembly, then breakfast, and then I get ready and go to class. On days that I don't have afternoon classes, I go to the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences to practice on the wheelchair or do weight training. On those days I get home a little before 9:00, so I go straight to bed without studying!"

Her notebooks are well-organized. She is also interested in studying abroad.

Muraoka enjoys talking about her campus life.

She is now busy preparing for PyeongChang. You might expect her to lead a no-frills life, but her towels and pillowcases are surprisingly covered with cute cartoon characters.
"When I was little my dream was to be Hello Kitty." (laughs)

She sometimes takes her favorite characters with her on tour.

Muraoka loves to read and sew. She made this book cover.

On her days off, she often goes out with friends or her younger sister by car. She is a fan of the idol group Momoiro Clover Z, one of her sister's influences, and occasionally goes to concerts. In her dorm room, which she shares with three others, she listens to music quietly on her earphones.
"In the dorm I listen to music and read. Sometimes I buy a bunch of manga at a used bookstore. I love the works of Keigo Higashino, and sometimes take his books on tour. Alpine skiing is an individual sport, and I like spending time alone."

Muraoka prefers a simple and casual fashion.

As a child, Muraoka liked being indoors. It was her father Hideki who encouraged her to get out and aim for the Paralympics. "If I get a medal, the first thing I will do is put it around my father's neck."

Muraoka prefers a simple and casual fashion.

Momoka Muraoka

Born in Saitama prefecture in 1997, Muraoka became wheelchair bound at age four due to transverse myelitis. She started skiing seriously in her second year of junior high, and in her second year of high school placed fifth in the giant slalom at the Sochi Paralympics. She later became the first Paralympian to pass the Waseda University entrance exam for top athletes. She is currently a member of the distinguished ski club, known to produce many Olympians.
Her role model is Taiki Morii. She explains, "He is very serious when competing, but completely different at other times, as if he can turn himself on and off at will. When he is competing, he is so focused and awe-inspiring."

(Republished from Parasport Magazine Vol. 2)
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