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2014年2月25日 (火)

ソチ五輪閉幕 日本選手の奮闘をたたえたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun February 24, 2014
Japanese athletes deserve strong praise for their efforts in Sochi
ソチ五輪閉幕 日本選手の奮闘をたたえたい(2月24日付・読売社説)

The Sochi Winter Olympics have come to an end.

It was unusual for the Games to be held under the threat of terrorism, but it is wonderful that there was no major trouble.

Japanese athletes won a total of eight medals: one gold, four silvers and three bronzes. Although the Japanese team failed to reach its initial target of winning at least 10 medals—as it did, including five golds, during the Nagano Games in 1998—it marked the second-best performance on record for Japan. We appreciate the athletes’ hard work.

In the last phase of the Games, snowboarder Tomoka Takeuchi won a silver medal in the parallel giant slalom and Ayana Onozuka won a bronze in the freestyle ski half pipe, a new Olympic event.

Noriaki Kasai, 41, became the oldest Japanese medalist at a Winter Olympics by winning a medal in ski jumping. Kasai, whom foreign jumpers respectfully call “the Legend,” can be regarded as the pride of the Japanese team.

The three Japanese female figure skaters failed to win a medal.

Mao Asada’s error-filled short program cost her dearly, but it was splendid she recovered to deliver a fine performance in the free skate, earning a personal-best score.

Her single-minded focus on skating must have invigorated many people. Everyone has felt affectionate toward her and called her by her nickname, “Mao-chan.” Although she could not realize her dream of winning a gold medal, no luster is lost from her past performances.

Develop new athletes

In addition to Asada, male figure skater Daisuke Takahashi and freestyle mogul skier Aiko Uemura decided the Sochi Games would be the venue to wrap up their athletic careers.

It is encouraging that young athletes in their teens achieved remarkable performances, including 19-year-old Yuzuru Hanyu, who has developed as a skater by emulating Takahashi and won the Japan team’s only gold medal at these Games.

How should Japan develop athletes who can be internationally competitive after athletes who have been the driving force in their respective sports retire from the front line? This is an important task that the Japanese Olympic Committee and sports associations face ahead of the next Games four years from now.

The Netherlands’ strength in speed skating was a sight to see. In the men’s 500-meter race, an event that Japanese skaters have excelled at, the three Dutch skaters dominated the winners’ podium.

Dutch skaters are said to have drawn on the skating techniques of Japanese skaters. Some experts have also said that the rink, which had ice produced by Dutch technicians, proved advantageous for Dutch skaters’ flexible, powerful bodies.

It is important for sports officials concerned to analyze the efforts made by the countries that performed well during the Games, as well as trends in how judges scored athletes’ performances at the latest Games, and work out appropriate measures.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Feb. 24, 2014)
(2014年2月24日01時27分  読売新聞)


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« G20共同声明 世界成長2%底上げへ結束を | トップページ | homework 2014-02-25 »