Japan’s men ski jumping team, led by silver medalist in the individual large hill event Noriaki Kasai, won bronze medal on Monday. The victory drew tears from Kasai, who has not cried at any of his seven Olympics so far, even when he won his first individual medal on Saturday.
“I do not care about colors. I am happy because we united our strength to win the medal. am glad that I can see my junior fellows receiving medals,” Kasai said tearfully.
The bronze is the sixth medal Japan is winning since the Olympics had started at Sochi. It surpassed the five medals won in 2010, at the Vancouver Games, the local press reported.
In the team event, Kasai, 41, jumped with Daiki Ito, 28; Reruhi Shimizu, 20; and Taku Takeuchi, 26. The four jumped in order of age, starting with Shimizu. All of them flew more than 130 meters in the second round.
But it was not an easy medal to win. Kasai injured his back on February 9, during another ski jumping event, as well as his left knee, in addition to his old injury on his right knee.
After the team event, Takeuchi announced he is suffering from an intractable disease called Churg-Strauss syndrome and once almost gave up on participating in the Sochi Games. He is also suffering from chronic asthma.
Shimizu was not at his best at the end of 2013 and once was eliminated from the World Cup team, according to the media.
“When I thought about the other members’ feelings, I could not stop my tears,” Kasai said.
Right before Monday’s event, the four joined hands in a circle. Kasai said, “Take courage and do our jumps!” The four then all yelled, “Yeah!” to solidify their unity.