Modified on February 24, 2014
JAPAN'S MEDAL COUNT
GOLD: 1 SILVER: 4 BRONZE: 3
113 athletes and 135 officials are taking part. The captain of the delegation is Noriaki Kasai, a 41 year old ski jumper. The flagbearer Ayumi Ogasawara of women's curling.
Closing Ceremony Feb 23
The figure skaters were there. So were the curling team and the women's ice hockey team. They enjoyed the ceremony and flew back to Japan on a chartered plane the next day.
Japan was seeking its final medal at this Olympic Games in women's speedskating team pursuit. It made it to the semi-finals, but lost to Russia and ended 4th. Figure skating's exhibition performance was held with not only the medalist, but also all those who placed 5th place or better. Japan's Mao Asada and Daisuke Takahashi were not within the rank but were invited to skate.
In women's freestyle half pipe skiing,Ayana Onozuka won the bronze with her 2nd score higher than her first. In women's figure skating, Mao Asada had no hope of winning a medal, but she performed well in the free program. She had a clear landing of her triple axel, followed by a triple triple. In fact she performed 6 type of triple jumps. She scored her personal best of 142.71 and finished 6th.
In women's snowboard parallel giant slalom, Tomoka Takeuchi won the silver medal. He had the chance for the gold in the final, but fell during the race while competing against Switzerland's Patrizia Kummer. It's the first medal for a Japanese woman at the Sochi Games. That later afternoon, women's figure skating short program took place. Japan's super star Mao Asada was the final skater. She fell on her signature triple axel, which was also downgraded. She missed all other jumps and ranked a surprising 16.
Silver medalist in nordic combined normal hill Akito Watabe, this time finished 6th in the large hill combined. He was 4th in jump, but during the final lap of cross country skiing, he fell.
In the ski jump large hill team event Japanese team won the bronze. The first jumper was Reruhi Shimizu followed by Taku Takeuchi then Daiki Ito and finally the legend Noriaki Kasai who flew 134 meters. It's the first time since the Nagano Winter Games Japanese jumper earned a team medal.
41 year old ski jumper Noriaki Kasai is a wonder. He won the silver medal in the large hill event earning a total score of277.4. The gold went to Poland's Kamil Stock who was slightly above with 278.7. It's Kasai's 7th Winter Olympic Games. But it's his first medal. He's known in Japan as the legend.
Yuzuru Hanyu won the first gold medal for Japan at Sochi and the first gold in the history of Japan's men's figure skating. He's also become the 2nd youngest among men Olympic medalists in the event at 19. Although he failed his his first squad and touched the ice in his triple flip, he managed other jumps well and kept his first rank. He was congratulated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after the competition. Tatsuki Machida finished 5th, and last Olympic's bronze medalist Daisuke Takahashi who was reeling from an injury was 6th.
Yuzuru Hanyu broke the score for men's figure skating single short program winning 101.45 points.He was followed by Patrick Chan of Canada and Havier Fernandez of Spain.
25 year old Akito Watabe won the silver medal in the men's individual nordic combined. It's Japan's first nordic combined medal in 20 years. He jumped 100.5 meters or the 2nd best in the normal hill. His 10 km cross country start was 6 seconds behind the first skier. He had a dead heat with Germany's Eric Frenzel but finished after him. In women's snowboard half pipe, Nana Okada came in 5th or the highest ever for a Japanese woman.
Japan won it's first medal in snowboarding. In fact it won 2! 15 year old Ayumu Hirano became the youngest Japanese medalist by finishing 2nd in the men's halfpipe.It's with a score of 93.50 18 year old Taku Hiraoka who performed much better in his 2nd try won the bronze. Japan's top medal favorite, 17 year old Sara Takanashi finished a surprising 4th in women's ski jump. In women's speed skating 500 meter, Nao Kodaira finished 5th.
In men's 500 meter speedskating where Japan has historically been strong, Joji Kato finished 5th and Keiichiro Nagashima 6th. Both were medalists in the previous Winter Games.
In figure skating team event's final day, for the men's single, Tatsuki Machida was 3rd. In the women's Akiko Suzuki was 4th. In the pair and dance, Japan was 5th. The overall standing a disappointing 5th. It's hoped Japanese skaters will do better when they perform in the individual event. In ski jump normal hill, 41 year old Noriaki Kasai was 8th.
In men's snowboard slope style, 17 year old Yuki Kadono finished 8th. In women's mogul, Aiko Uemura in her 5th Winter Olympic performance finished 4th place. In the figure skating team event, Vancouver silver medalist Mao Asada performed. But she fell on her what was supposed to be a triple axel and was 3rd in the short program. Kathy and Chris Reed in ice dance were 8th. Team Japan advanced to the final stage.
Opening Ceremony Feb 7
Japan was the 2nd to the last to march onto the stage of the ceremony. In all around 2900 are participating in the Winter Games or 87 countries and regions. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the ceremony despite his super tight schedule. He waved to the Japanese delegation from his seat. All eyes were on whether he would have a chat with Chinese President Xi Jinping with whom he has never held bilateral talks. But there were no signs of talks as they were seated far from eachother. Maybe the seating arrangement was deliberate. After the ceremony Abe had a chat with the Japanese Olympians.
Japanese athletes already were in competition before the opening ceremony. In figure skating's team event, Yuzuru Hanyu skated and topped the men performers in the short program to give Japan 10 points. Pair, Narumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kihara who have been skating together for only a year came in 8th. The team placed 4th at this point with the women's single and ice dance short program remaining. It needs to place 5th or better among 10 countries to advance to the next stage to perform free skating. In women's mogul, idol skier Aiko Uemura advanced to the finals.
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