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2012年8月 4日 (土)

ロンドン五輪 内村選手の「金」に続きたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 4, 2012)
Uchimura's golden Olympic feat may herald more thrills to come
ロンドン五輪 内村選手の「金」に続きたい(8月3日付・読売社説)

In the midst of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, many people have already experienced hope and despair as a succession of heated battles have yielded their results.

On Wednesday, the sixth day of the Games, the number of medals won by Japanese athletes stood at 17: two golds, four silvers and 11 bronzes.

Although golds have been few, Japan is still third in terms of its total medal count, after China and the United States. We applaud the good fight put up by Japanese Olympians.

Particularly stirring our hearts was gymnast Kohei Uchimura. His winning of the gold in the men's all-around Olympic final is the first such feat by a Japanese in 28 years.

Uchimura showed again and again why his technique is said the most beautiful among the world's gymnasts. His perfectly nailed landing after flipping through the air at high speed in the vault event was an amazing spectacle to behold.

The mental fortitude he displayed in clinching the victory and living up to the nation's expectations that he would surely get a gold medal is truly praiseworthy.


Matsumoto's gold also great

In judo, a sport regarded as one of Japan's fortes, many Japanese athletes have encountered difficulty in this Olympiad. But the ferocious fighting spirit of Kaori Matsumoto in the women's 57-kilogram category was especially impressive. Her smile when winning Japan's first gold medal of the London Games was dazzling.

There can be no doubt that the gold Matsumoto won boosted the morale of the Japanese team across all sports.

The achievements of Japanese swimmers are also remarkable: Both men and women have won bronzes in backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. Another bronze was taken in the men's individual medley.

It is heartening that Japan's swimming lineup includes many who can compete with ace rivals from around the world in every category of competition.

Kosuke Kitajima, who was ambitious to win gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke races for a third straight Olympics, wound up with no medals at all.

Although the feat he dearly hoped to achieve did not become reality, Kitajima definitely deserves to hold his head high for the great leading role he has long played in the world of Japanese swimming.


Boost referees' quality

However, a series of problematic decisions by referees and judges in the Games can be said to have thrown cold water on the feelings of many spectators.

In a men's judo match, a flag decision by the judges was overturned because of a protest from jurors in a video-equipped booth, giving the win to a Japanese competitor.

In the men's team gymnastics events, the levels of difficulty failed to be evaluated correctly, and an early decision by judges was changed as a result of a video reexamination, adding more points to the Japanese team's score.

Improving the competence of referees and judges is a task that should be addressed in every field of competition.

The Games lasts through Aug. 12. Based on the good showing so far, we strongly hope to see further outstanding performances by Japanese athletes.

In soccer, both the men's and women's teams have earned the right to advance to the final rounds. Women's wrestling will feature Saori Yoshida and Kaori Icho, both aspiring to accomplish their third consecutive Olympic championships. Track and field events, too, will start soon.

We also enjoy seeing the excellent speed and skills of foreign athletes.

There is still much to be relished in the quadrennial world sports festival.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 3, 2012)
(2012年8月3日01時55分  読売新聞)


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