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2008年8月25日 (月)


(Aug. 25, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Olympic baton must pass to next generation

北京五輪閉幕 次世代にバトンをどうつなぐ(825日付・読売社説)

The Beijing Olympics left Japan's sporting world with a huge assignment: How should it go about encouraging a new generation of sporting stars to emerge in time for the next Summer Games four years from now?


The Beijing Olympics ended Sunday. We would like to congratulate the athletes of every country for the great excitement they presented us with.


Standing out among the numerous new records established during the Games were those of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who set amazing new world records in the men's 100 and 200 meters, and Michael Phelps of the United States, who grabbed eight gold medals in the swimming events, blazing a magnificent trail in Olympic history.


In the sprints, Jamaican athletes performed impressively with Bolt at the forefront of their team. They monopolized the podium in the women's 100 meters. Thanks to improved training facilities in their country, Jamaican athletes with superlative physical abilities have been able to develop their talents.



9 golds an acceptable result


In terms of the number of gold medals, China, which collected 51 of them, came top, leaving the United States trailing far behind in its wake.


Japan, which garnered 25 medals, including nine golds, failed to meet its target of 30 medals or more, including at least 10 golds. However, the result is not as bad as it might seem if we compare it with the results from other Olympic games in recent memory, apart from the 2004 Athens Olympics, in which Japan won a remarkable 16 gold medals.


In particular, the performance of Japan's female athletes was impressive in softball, judo, wrestling, soccer and other events.


Among the nine gold medals, seven represented successful defences of events won in Athens. The efforts made by Japanese athletes over the last four years to maintain their top international level are admirable.


However, we were unable to see the emergence of younger athletes looking to take over from their veteran teammates. It is therefore an urgent task to improve the performance of athletes of the next generation in each sport.


Many people applauded Japan's 400-meter relay team, which won the bronze medal. The team's flowing baton-passing brought Japan its first track medal in 80 years. This achievement is sure to greatly inspire young Japanese athletes.




Questions must be asked


In the marathon, Mizuki Noguchi and Satoshi Osaki withdrew from the women's and men's races, respectively. It is necessary to examine whether their training regimes in the immediate buildup to their races were appropriate.


Japan's baseball team, which people had high expectations for, finished in fourth place. Japan should squarely face up to the fact that the team was unable to win even one game against South Korea, Cuba and the United States, and devise strategies ahead of the second World Baseball Classic to be held in March.


The Olympics, which have become bloated in size, are expected to be scaled back with the 2012 London Olympics and thereafter under the leadership of International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.


Tokyo is among the cities bidding to host the Olympics in 2016. But can Tokyo come up with a vision of an Olympics that will become a model for the future form of the Games? Surely that will be the key to securing the winning bid.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 25, 2008)

20088250149  読売新聞)


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