When Oren Blitzblau crossed the finish line in the 2018 Ironman Triathlon Competition in Sweden, he broke the world record. He completed 2.4 miles of swimming, a hundred and twelve miles of biking, and ran a full marathon of twenty-six miles in only ten hours, and fifty-one minutes, setting a new world record. Oren’s time for completing the Iron Man competition is the fastest a blind paratriathlete competitor has ever completed the race. The previous record was twelve minutes slower.
Competing From A Young Age
Oren grew up in Naharyia, a small town in the northern part of Israel. He started training for swimming competitions when he was just six years old. By the time he was seventeen, he had already competed in a number of competitions. He excelled in freestyle swimming over long distances. He joined the Israeli military at the age of eighteen. Oren was drafted into the paratrooper’s engineering brigade. After becoming an officer, he was transferred to military intelligence.
In January 2005, Oren was badly injured during active duty by a suicide bomber. The explosion damaged his internal organs and left him with burns on his body. Oren lost his vision from the incident. His hearing was damaged as well. Shortly after his recovery, Oren was determined to return to sports and compete as a paratriathlete in international athletic competitions.
The Paratriathlete Philanthropist
In May 2009, Oren organized and participated in a bike tour to raise funds for charity. The funds went to help build a new sports center for children with disabilities. After the charity bike tour, Oren started to focus on training for international sporting competitions. In 2012, he won the bronze medal in the para-triathlon European championship in the blind paratriathlete competitors’ category. Since then, Oren has won two more medals in international competitions. In 2013, he won a bronze medal in the European championship in Turkey. In 2014, he won another bronze medal in the world championship in Spain. That year, in Brazil, he came in first place in the para-triathlon “sprinting distance” category. Oren Blitzblau was chosen as the 2014 athlete of the year by the paralympic committee.
Oren lives with his wife and two kids in Herzliya. Oren is currently helping tech companies make an impact on local communities and help people with disabilities in their countries. He is also an active public speaker. His lectures focus mainly on overcoming obstacles in life, recovery, and success.
Empowering the Blind Worldwide
OrCam Technologies is putting together a dream team of twelve inspirational visually impaired athletes from around the world. Oren’s resilience and outstanding performance have made him a perfect fit for the dream team.
Leo Messi welcomed Oren to the #OrCam_DreamTeam. They found a common interest in their mutual athletic achievements as a professional paratriathlete and a professional soccer player. At the meeting, Oren was presented with his very own OrCam MyEye device. It is the world’s most advanced device for people who are blind or visually impaired. OrCam represents achieving independence and enablement in defiance of the circumstances. It is a small, portable, and wearable assistive technology device that can attach to his glasses. It does not require an internet connection, so he can use it anywhere.
With his OrCam MyEye, Oren can now read text instantly from any printed paper. As an avid technology user, he can also read from any digital screen. He does this with simple hand gestures. He can also use the device to recognize faces, barcodes, colors, money bills, and personal items.