This year, the Japanese Winter Olympic team that is going to Sochi has more members than ever and the women outnumber the men for the first time as well, due to the fact that Japan is participating for the first time in the last 16 years in women’s ice hockey.
The women’s ice hockey team has 21 players, while their male counterparts did not make the cut.
The entire delegation will be made up of 113 athletes, 48 men and 65 women, the biggest Japanese contingent sent abroad for a Winter Games, according to the international press.
Although Japan is set to win as many gold medals as possible, only Sara Takanashi, a 17-year-old ski-jumper who has won eight of the season’s 11 World Cup competitions so far, is expected to win a gold medal for sure.
Mao Asada, the skater who won the world champion title two times so far, is raring to avenge her defeat to South Korea’s Kim Yu-Na in Vancouver in 2010.
Japan is expected to win medals as well in speed skating, freestyle skiing, cross country skiing and snowboarding.
While the oldest sportsman of the Japanese team is ski jumper Noriaki Kasai, 41, the youngest one is snowboarder Ayumu Hirano, 15.