Japan at the 2010 Olympics

Japan brought home five medals at this year’s Vancouver Winter Olympics, half of the number (10) they won at the 1998 games in Nagano. (Perhaps holding the games in their own country helped build up momentum to take so many medals!) Still, it was a good year for Japanese sports compared to the 2002 Olympics, in which they brought home 2 medals, and the 2004 Olympics, in which they took only one.

The categories in which the Japanese won medals this year are:

Ladies’ Figure Skating: Silver, Asada Mao

Men’s Figure Skating: Bronze, Takahashi Daisuke

Men’s 500 M Speed Skating: Silver, Nagashima Keiichiro and Bronze, Kato Joji

Ladies’ Team Pursuit Speed Skating: Silver, Tabata Maki, Hozumi Masako, & Kodaira Nao

It’s interesting to note that the 4th Place Finisher in Ladies’ Figure Skating, who turned heads for her performance, is Japanese-American Mirai Nagasu, who, as a 16-year-old, is a dual citizen of both Japan and the US. (Japan doesn’t allow dual citizenship after the age of 22.) Although she represented America in the Olympics, she’s somewhat well known in Japan and has been featured on Japanese TV on numerous occasions.

Japan’s relatively successful representation at the 2010 Olympics shouldn’t be a surprise. Many people unfamiliar with Japan don’t realize that the northern part of the country has harsh winters on par with nearby Russia. In the northern part of Japan, called Hokkaido, snow accumulation average snowfall in the mountain area is about 45 feet per winter!

Ski resorts in Hokkaido that offer skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports are popular destinations for winter sports enthusiasts from around the globe. You can even rent a sled and a pack of dogs and take dog sled lessons from a professional! Despite the frigid 10˚F to 25˚F temperatures, open-air hot springs are still a popular stop at these resorts, too. Bathing in hot water in cold air is a refreshing experience that helps soothe sore muscles after a day of skiing downhill.

Did you watch the 2010 Olympics? Did you see Japan compete in any of the events? Have you ever been to Hokkaido?

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Tags: 2010 olympics, japan, japan news, sports, usa, vancouver