Robert Griswold wins gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 20 years after Dr. Sato’s seminal presentation on the use of KAATSU with individuals with congenital cerebral palsy.
At the 2001 KAATSU Training International Symposium in Tokyo, KAATSU inventor Dr. Yoshiaki Sato explained the innovative KAATSU Cycle protocols that he used with one of his patients, Mr. Kato who has congenital cerebral palsy [see photos above]. Both Dr. Sato and Mr. Kato impressed the audience with Mr. Kato’s physiological improvements.
One of the few foreign participants in the Symposium was American Steven Munatones who had just begun to being mentored on KAATSU by Dr. Sato.
Dial forward to 2017 when 2016 Rio Paralympic Games bronze medalist Robert Griswold called Munatones and asked about KAATSU. Griswold, similar to Mr. Kato, has congenital cerebral palsy in Tokyo. He was in the middle of training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and wanted to start KAATSU in order to improve his strength, flexibility and mobility.
Griswold has been doing so ever since. Utilizing the patented KAATSU protocols created by Dr. Sato and first utilized by Mr. Kato, Griswold started to see improvement as he had hoped.
“If we compare Robert’s speed and best time in 2016 at the Rio Paralympic Games to what he did in Tokyo, it is a remarkable improvement,”
said Steven Munatones.
“In Rio, he swam the S8 100 meter backstroke in 1:04.68. In Tokyo, he set a world record in 1:02.55. Over two seconds at this level is stunning.”
Griswold dreamed of standing on top of the awards podium in Tokyo and hearing his national anthem. In Tokyo 20 years after Mr. Kato had wowed the participants in the 2001 KAATSU Training International Symposium, Griswold similarly impressed with a world record setting performance to win the gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Griswold started out quickly, but controlled, with a 30.35 split on the first 50. On the NBC telecast [shown above], he started to approach closer and closer to the world record line on every stroke as he powered through his second lap. He finished with a blazing 32.3 final 50 meters to set a world record and Paralympic record of 1:02.55.
He broke the 1:02.90 world record of China’s Cong Zhou at 1:02.90 who set that world record en route to gold at the Rio Paralympics. But Griswold took two steps up the podium and set a new standard in the men’s S8 category.
“Robert has always impressed me, both in and out of the water,”
remarked Steven Munatones.
“Like his hero – renowned Olympic backstroke champion Aaron Piersol, Robert came through big-time today – and he was able to do it with his family in the stands.”
Griswold’s road to gold was a long time coming.
“From a young age, I knew I was different when I was in the playground. But when I got in the swimming pool, I felt like everyone else. I was just six years old at the time and it was so much fun to be able to compete in a sport, something that I’d never had the opportunity to do before.”
Griswold exudes positivity and goal-setting and is a role model for many.
“Don’t give up on yourself. Just because you’re at a disadvantage doesn’t mean you should look at yourself that way. My cerebral palsy affects my general coordination, walking, running, jumping. It also affects my hands a little bit and my fine motor skills.
I worked for five years for this moment. I remember this record took a big jump down in Rio, and I was in that race, and I woke up the next day and said, ‘How can I get down to 1:02.90?’ I thought about it again and again, and said if I just kept a little bit better every day, it will click. Then one day it all clicked. I honestly wasn’t thinking 1:02.50. I hit the wall and saw that I was out at 30-something, and I said, ‘You know what, let’s just go for it’ and I went with. When I touched the wall I just screamed with joy because I was so happy to do the best I could for my country.”
S8 100m Backstroke Final – Results:
Gold: Robert Griswold (USA) 1:05.49
Silver: Inigo Llopis Sanz (Spain) 1:06.82
Bronze: Fengqi Liu (China) 1:07.09
4th: Jesse Aungles (Australia) 1:07.94
5th: Kota Kubota (Japan) 1:09.09
6th: Pavel Kuklin (Russia) 1:09.26
7th: Joseph Peppersack (USA) 1:09.45
8th: Jurijs Semjonovs (Latvia)
Compared to his strong start, turn and kick in Tokyo, Griswold does not appear to be as powerful in 2016 prior to his use of KAATSU:
His upper body looks much stronger as was confirmed by BMI tests conducted at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado:
Additional articles on Robert Griswold: