Why you should care about him: He suffers from myopia, which has left him with 20/100 vision in his right eye and 20/200 vision in his left eye, meaning that he is legally blind. He is a blind man who shoots arrows across great distances into incredibly small targets without being able to see those targets, and he is one of the very best in the world at doing so.
Im refuses to wear corrective glasses or contact lenses when he competes, and he told The Telegraph that his targets look “as if different types of paint have been dropped in water. The lines are blurred.” So how the hell does he ever manage to hit anything? According to Im, it’s all about muscle memory. More from The Telegraph:
Instead, Im has learned to “feel” each shot with his body, training his muscles to be phenomenally consistent in lining up his shots, drawing back the bow and releasing his arrows.
“Archery requires very sensitive muscles,” he said. “I used to play football at school, and I enjoyed really physical sports, but I now try to avoid any sports that might build up different muscles. That might have a negative impact on my archery.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s just about the coolest sh*t I have ever heard. The importance of muscle memory is something that athletes harp on all the time, but I doubt that many others have mastered it as fully as Im has. The ability to “feel” one’s way to a precision archery shot feels less like a skill and more like a superpower. In fact, Im may very well be a vampire-hunting comic book hero come to life.
Olympic/world championships experience: Im helped the South Korean team win gold medals in the team event at both the Beijing and Athens summer Olympics. He has yet to win an individual Olympic medal, but he did win an individual gold at the 2007 world championships and an overall World Cup gold medal in 2008.