Modified on March 1, 2010
JAPAN'S MEDAL COUNT
GOLD: 0 SILVER:3 BRONZE: 2
94 athletes are taking part or the least number in 4 Winter Games. There are more officials, or over 100. The captain of the delegation is ski jumper Takanobu Okabe. The flagbearer, speedskater Tomomi Okazaki.
Closing Ceremony Feb 28
Figure skating heartthrob Mao Asada was chosen Japan's flagbearer for the closing ceremony. Other figure skaters took part in the ceremony, as well as speedskaters and curlers. Japan finished this Winter Olympics with more medals than the last Games in Turin where it won one gold.
Japan's women's speedskating pursuit team was just a little short of a gold medal. Nao Kodaira, Tabata Maki and Masako Hozumi clocked 3 minutes 02.84 seconds for the silver. The Germans were only .02 seconds quicker. Still, this is the first time Japanese women won higher than a silver medal in speedskating. In women's 30 kilometer cross country skiing, classical event, Masako Ishida clocked 1 hour 31 minutes 56.5 seconds to come in 5th. Its the highest standing a Japanese has ever finished in the event.
Japan was focused on one event. It's women's figure skating. The attention was on whether Mao Asada would be able to exceed South Korea's Yu-Na Kim. Kim performed on the ice before Asada. And she showed a perfect performance that achieve a score which broke her own world record. Asada who was next succeeded in two triple axels which was a feat. But she missed a triple toe loop. Kim won the gold while Mao Asada earned the silver medal. It's in 2 straight Winter Olympics that a Japanese figure skater wins a medal. 2007 World Champion Miki Ando was 5th.
In women's speed skating 5000 meter race, Masako Hozumi finished 7th.
In nordic ski combined team events, Japan started 4th in the ski jump event. In cross country, it began will. But the team anchor Norihito Kobayashi came in 6th. All eyes were on women's figure skating. In the short program, Mao Asada had a perfect performance, but her Korean rival Yu-Na Kim did even better. Another Japanese Miki Ando was 4th in the program.
Japan's ski jumpers advanced to the final round in the team's event. The team was 5th after the first try. In the 2nd try, Noriaki Kasai had a huge 140 meter jump, but the team finished 5th. In ice dancing, Japan's sister brother pair, Cathy and Chris Reed finished 17th, but gained the highest point ever in their skating career.
In women's speedskating 1500 meter event, Nao Kodaira came in 5th. It's the 2nd time she places 5th at the Winter Olympics, following the 1000 meter event.
In men's ski jumping large hill individual event, the best standing among the 4 Japanese men who proceeded to the final stage was Noriaki Kasai. He finished 8th.
The oldest Japanese participating in this Olympic Games, 45 year old Kazuhiro Koshi finished 20th in the men's skeleton. He said he would be retiring after this race.
A feat in men's figure skating. Daisuke Takahashi became the first Japanese to win a medal in this event. It's a bronze. It was in a very high level competition in which American Evan Lysacek won the gold and 3 time Olympian Evgeny Plushenko was given the silver. Takahashi fell in an attempt for a quadruple jump. He succeeded in most other jumps and skates with a fine elegance. Nobunari Oda finished 7th after having to stop the music to tie his torn shoelace. In women's 1000 meter speedskating, Nao Kodaira placed 5th. The youngest ever to participate, 15 year old Miho Takagi finished 35th.
Snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo who drew outrage for his style and behavior performed in the men's half pipe. He lost balance in his final landing and finished 8th. Another Japanese Ryo Aono who was last season's world champion was 9th. Keiichiro Nagashima who won the silver 2 days ago appeared in the men's 1000 meter race. However, he was not able to skate fast. He was also faced with trouble of delayed starts. And he finished overall 37th.
In women's 500 meter speedskating, Sayuri Yoshii came in 5th. Veteran 38 year old and 5 time Olympian Tomomi Okazaki finished 16th. The men's short program for figureskating took place. It was competitive, but as expected, Russian Evgeni Pluschenko took the lead. Japan's Daisuke Takahashi who was out the whole of last season due to a serious injury came in 3rd. Another Japanese Nobunari Oda was 4th. It's to be seen what will happen in the free event.
A feat for Japan in the men's 500 meter figure skating. Former world record holder, Joji Kato was 3rd in the first trial. And he finished 3rd after the 2nd trial to earn the bronze medal. He wasn't too happy with a report stating he wanted the gold medal. Another speed skater, Keiichiro Nagashima did better in this 2nd trial and won the silver medal. The winner was Korean Mo Tai-Bun who was celebrating his birthday on the day. In the figure skating pairs event, Japanese born turned Russian Yuko Kawaguchi and her partner Alexander Smirnov finished 4th.
In the women's 3000 meter speedskating race, Masako Hozumi clocked 4 minutes 7'36" to come in 6th. In the men's mogul, 19 year old Sho Endo was 7th. In nordic ski combined individual event, 27 year old Norihito Kobayashi was 12th in the normal hill ski jump. His start in the cross country race was 58 seconds behind the top jumper. Just 1 more km to the end of the race, Kobayashi went ahead taking first place. But he later fell behind and finished the race 7th.
In women's mogul, popular skier Aiko Uemura was hoped to win her first medal after 3 Olympic Games. She almost made it, finishing 4th. In previous Games she was 7th, 6th and 5th. Nagano Olympic Games gold medalist Tae Satoya lost balance during an aerial and fell. In men's ski jumping normal hill individual, the best performance by a Japanese was Daiki Ito who finished 15th.
Opening Ceremony Feb 12
The Games opened with 82 countries and region taking part. From Japan, around 40 athletes marched into the stadium to take in the Olympic spirit. The flagbeared Tomomi Okazaki was all smiles. Among the athletes, 15 year old speedskater Miho Takagi, and figureskater Nobunari Oda. However, snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo was banned from participating. He was scolded for not wearing the national uniform properly and for his inappropriate behavior in a press conference later.
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