Japan fell far short of its gold-medal target at the Olympics but still rejoiced Monday in a record medal haul, hailing it as a boost to the country’s recovery from last year’s quake-tsunami disaster.
“A record-high 38 medals for Japan,” blared a front-page headline in the business daily Nikkei’s evening edition, hours after the London Games closed. The previous high was 37 from Athens 2004.
But only seven medals in London were gold, with Japanese judokas bagging only one of those. The Japanese Olympic Committee had been gunning for 15 golds, hoping that could invigorate its bid to host the 2020 Games in Tokyo.
Japans Ryota Murata denied Brazil a first Olympic boxing gold medal on Saturday when he fought smart to win his countrys first in the ring for 48 years by beating middleweight Esquiva Falcao Florentino.
Falcao, whose brother Yamaguchi won bronze in the light-heavyweights, appeared to serve notice to the rest of the middleweight division when he demolished Britains Anthony Ogogo in the semi-final.
However university worker Murata, a silver medalist at last years world amateur championships, gave the aggressive Falcao a lesson in how to score points, defending expertly and catching the Brazilian each time he came in close to win 14-13.
Abby Wambach didnt put on her “Greatness Has Been Found” T-shirt right away. She instead strayed from her teammates and knelt alone at midfield – and cried into a U.S. flag.Yes, greatness has been found. And payback has been achieved.
The Americans are again on top of the womens soccer world.
The United States won its third straight Olympic gold medal Thursday, beating Japan 2-1 in a rematch of last years World Cup final and avenging the most painful loss in its history.
Japan and the United States made it through the semifinals of the womens Olympic football tournament Monday, setting up a rematch of the World Cup final won by the Japanese just a year ago.Japan beat France 2-1 in London and the United States defeated Canada 4-3 in extra time in a thrilling match at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The U.S. will be going for revenge and its third-straight gold medal. Japan will be playing in its first Olympic final to try to show its World Cup win was not a fluke.
Uchimura, the three-time world champion, took the lead halfway through the all-around competition — and never let it go.
He finished his night on the floor exercise, twisting through the air so quickly during his tumbling passes that he was nothing but a blur. When he was done and his feet finally hit the ground, he walked off with a smile that had been missing from his Olympics so far.
Finally, four years after winning silver in the all-around at the Beijing Games, Uchimura stood atop the medal stand to hear Japan’s national anthem being played just for him. He took the gold medal in his hands and examined it, as if to make sure it was real.
Japan produced the first upset of the Olympic Games when they beat potential gold medalists Spain 1-0 at Hampden Park, Glasgow on the opening day of the men’s soccer competition on Thursday.
Spain, bidding to add the Olympic title to their world and European crowns, finished with 10 men after midfielder Inigo Martinez was sent off just before halftime having found no answer to Yuki Otsu’s 34th minute goal.
In the other early matches Morocco and Honduras drew 2-2 at Hampden, while Mexico and South Korea drew 0-0 at St James’ Park.
There were five matches being played later on Thursday including favorites Brazil against Egypt and hosts Britain against Senegal.
A Japanese Olympic executive wants his country to host major sporting events to show the world it is recovering from the multiple disasters, but has acknowledged the challenge in justifying a bid for the 2020 Summer Games.
“We need to be hosting major international events to inspire the whole nation, to encourage the youth of Japan to move forward and aspire to be champions and to significantly boost the morale of the whole nation,” Japanese Olympic Association vice president Masato Mizuno said Wednesday.
“International sporting events will also help the international community realize that most of Japan is functioning.”
Several events in Japan, including the world figure skating championships, have been canceled since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11, leading to about 25,000 deaths and a lingering nuclear radiation crisis.
Judo superstar and Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Ryoko Tani said Friday she will retire from judo and pursue her political career to improve the nation’s sports environment.
"I’ve decided to step back from the front line of competition," Tani, 35, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who won her Diet seat in the July 11 Upper House election, told reporters in Tokyo. Party sources revealed that she told a senior DPJ member she couldn’t pursue both careers because of time constraints and other reasons.
Tani, widely known by the nickname Yawara-chan, which comes from the title character of a popular judo manga, won gold in the 48-kg division at the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
As the third day of the Vancouver Olympics ends, Japan remains without medals. On the first day the Japanese team entered the Opening Ceremony full of smiles and waving both Japanese and Canadian flags. On the second and third day the highest ranking Japanese athlete was Aiko Uemura, who placed fourth in Ladies’ Moguls.
In tears after the event, Aiko Uemura, could only help but wonder to reporters, “Why do I keep climbing up one rank by one rank?” She had finished 5th in Turin in 2006, 6th in Salt Lake City in 2002, and 7th in Nagano in 1998.