Japan in 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing

Modified on December 12, 2008


339 athletes taking part. The oldest is equesterian Hiroshi Hoketsu who is 67 years old. He took part in the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Dec 11
IOC announced that 2 Belarus hammer throwers were disqualified for testing positive for doping. Japan's Koji Murofushi was, therefore, awarded the bronze medal. It's the 2nd Olympic Game in a row that Murofushi's standing was pushed up after the award ceremony.

Aug 24
In men's marathon, although a Japanese national did not win, Samuel Wansiru of Kenya who went to high school in Sendai Japan won the gold. He clocked an Olympic record of 2 hours 6.32 minutes. He spoke in fluent Japanese stating he learned the spirit of "gaman" or tolerance in Japan, and that helped him win. Since graduating, he was training under Barcelona Olympic silver medalist Koichi Morishita until this Olympic Games.

Aug 23
Japan's baseball team faced U.S.A., but it lost and finished 4th. In synchronized swimming's team event, Japan had problems. A swimmer touched the bottom of the pool. Then in the end, a swimmer fainted. The team finished 5th in an event it has been constantly been winning medals.

Aug 22
Japan's men's 400 meter relay team competed in the final. The first runner was 23 year olf Naoki Tsukahara. He passed the baton to veteran runner Shingo Sutsugu. Then it went to Shinji Takahira. The anchor, 36 year old Nobuharu Asahara finished 3rd. It's the first time ever for Japan to win a medal in the Olympic men's track event. There was one woman back in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. She's 800 meter runner Kinue Hitomi. A big disappointment in baseball. Japan's pro team lost to South Korea 2 to 6. This means Japan's gold challenge disappeared.

Aug 21
Japan's softball pitcher Yukiko Ueno started in her 3rd game in a row since August 20. She faced the last Olympic champion U.S.A. for the 2nd time in 2 days. Ayumi Karino hit in Japan's first RBI. Eri Yamada homered. Japan added another run in the final inning. Japan defeated U.S.A. 3 to 1 and won the gold medal.

Aug 20
In woman's synchronized swimming duet, Saho Harada and Eriko Suzuki advanced to the final round. They performed after the Chinese duo, who are currently coached by former Japan national coach Masayo Imura. Seeing that they had better scores, Harada and Suzuki were in tears. The duo won a bronze medal. It's a medal in synchronized swimming for Japan in 7 Olympic Games in a row.

Aug 19
In men's wrestling freestyle 55 kg, Tomohiro Matsunaga won a silver medal. A son of a Buddhist priest, this is his first Olympic Games. 23 year old Kenichi Yumoto won the braonze in the freesyle 60 kg.

Aug 18
Japan did not win any medals. But triathlete Juri Ide did well by finishing 5th. It's Japan's best performance ever in the Olympic Games in women's triathlon. In baseball, Japan won it's 2nd game, defeating Canada 1 to 0 in the preliminaries. It's lost to South Korea and Cuba, while it's won against Taiwan and Holland. It still has hope to advance to the final tournament.

Aug 17
In the final swimming competition, the men's 400 meter relay, Kosuke Kitajima was the 2nd swimmer for the Japanese team. He went pass his rival Brendan Hansen and passed the race to his teammate gaining first place. It was a tough race for the rest, but Japan won 3rd place. It's the 2nd bronze medal for Japan's men's relay team since Athens. By the way, an unheard of feat by Michael Phelps who won his 8th gold medal in Beijing for winning the relay with a world record. In women's wrestling, Kaori Icho managed to clinch a gold in the 63 kg. Kyoko Hamaguchi who fought in the 72 kg ended with a bronze for her 2nd Olympic in a row. The disappointment for Japan is that in the women's marathon, noone managed to win a medal for the first time in 4 Olympic games.

Aug 16
In the woman's 200 meter backstroke, Reiko Nakamura clocked 2 minutes 7.13 seconds to finish 3rd. It's the 2nd bronze medal for her in the same event in 2 Olympic Games. Women's wrestling started. In the women's 48 kg, Chiharu Icho won the silver. It's her 2nd silver medal in 2 Olympics. In the women's 55 kg, Saori Yoshida clinched the gold in two Olympics. Her consecutive winning record ended at 119 in January. Since then she had a hard time overcoming the loss, but she made a terrific comeback. In the bicycling event of keirin, which is Japan born, 25 year old Kiyofumi Nagai won the bronze. It's the first time a Japanese won a medal in the keirin competition in the Olympics.

Aug 15
Athens Olympic gold medalist in the women's over 78 kg judo, Maki Tsukada won the silver. In mens judo 21 years old Satoshi Ishii was savvy in his final fight, and without trying for an ippon, defeated his opponent to win the gold medal.

Aug 14
Kosuke Kitajima did it again! Although he didn't break the world record, he clocked a new Olympic record of 2 minutes 7.64 seconds. It's in the 200 meter men's breast stroke. After the race, he didn't look as elated as he did when he won the 100 meter race as he wasn't able to break the world record. But this was again a tremendous feat. In men's gymnastics, 19 year old Kohei Uchimura made an incredible recovery. He fell from the pommel horse twice, but after that, his good performances on the vault and bar won his a silver medal in the overall ranking. It's the first time in 24 years that Japan won a medal in the men's all rounder performance.

Aug 13
In men's swimming, Takeshi Matsuda swam much faster than the Japan record he held and won a bronze in the 200 meter butterfly. In that event, Michael Phelps won the gold. A big surprise was, Yuki Ota who was 9th in Athens in fencing became not only the first Japanese to advance to the semi-finals. He advanced to the final match. He lost, but earned a silver medal. In woman's judo Masae Ueno who won the gold medal in Athens did it again. She won all her matches with an ippon. She won the gold again in the under 70 kg weight division. In gymnastics, the women advanced to the final round for the first time in 24 years. It was able to finish 5th. The baseball tournament started this day. Japan faced one of the best teams, Cuba. Japan's ace pitcher Yu Darvish gave up 2 runs. Japan lost 2 to 4.

Aug 12
Last Olympic team champion in men's gymnastic, Japan advanced to the final round with rivals U.S. and China. Japan was 3rd until the last competition. But in the bar, which Japan is good at, Japan overwhelmed the U.S. and finished 2nd. In women's judo under 63 kilos, Athens gold medalist Ayumi Tanimoto did it again. She won all matched with an ippon and earned a gold for the 2nd time. What was shocking this day that Athens marathon gold medalist Mizuki Noguchi announced she was pulling out from the race this time as she could not even jog properly.

Aug 11
Japan's super swimmer did it. Kosuke Kitajima clocked 58.91 seconds to break the world record and win the gold medal in the 100 meter breastroke. It's the first time in over 70 years that a Japanese swimmer won gold medals in 2 Olympic Games in a row.

Aug 10
Japan's first gold medal was earned by Masato Uchishiba in the men's 66 kg judo. It's his gold in 2 Olympic Games in a row. 19 year old woman's judoka Misato Nakamura finshed with a bronze in the 52 kg in her first Olympic participation.

Aug 9
All eyes were on whether weightlifter in the women's 48 kg Hiromi Miyake would be Japan's first gold medalist. But she could not lifted up to 105 kg and finished 6th. Newcomer to the Olympic weightlifting Misaki Ohshiro was 8th. Japan's first medal went to Ryoko Tani. She's a 5 time Olympian, who won 2 silvers and 2 golds in judo's woman's 48 kg. In the semi-final, she gave up points due to passivity. The popular judoka finished with a bronze medal.

Opening Ceremony Aug 8
204 countries and regions took part. Japan's flagbearer's table tennis idol Ai Fukuhara who is also well known in China. The captain is Keiji Suzuki of judo.

Aug 7
Japanese men's soccer team lost to the U.S. brings disappointment to Japan.

Aug 6
Before the opening ceremony, Japan's women soccer team played agsint New Zealand. The game was a draw.