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Japan’s High Class Olympians

If you have been watching the news you maybe can see some reports about the Winter Olympics. I don’t know about your feeling, but I love the Olympics. I love the summer Olympics of course, but because I am from Canada I really, really enjoy the Winter Olympics.

My country of Canada are not so strong in the summer Olympics. Canada does not win many gold medals in the summer. But winter… well, winter is very different for people from my country. Many children grow up in a place that has five months of winter every year. And we have many mountains and places that have ice. Many Canadians can ice skate and ski. Many kids grow up knowing how to play ice hockey.

So, of course when the Winter Olympics are on television I am always very interested to watch the events. I love the international feeling of the Olympics and the chances for people from all over the world to meet, to fight and battle, and also to learn about other countries and make friends from different cultures.

These Olympics in China are a little different, especially as we still have a very serious issue with the Corona virus. It will be difficult for people to meet and talk and to share their cultures. It is almost impossible to make new friends when everyone is afraid about catching the Corona virus.

But even so, there are times when we are watching the Olympics that we can see something very interesting about people from other countries. In this way, I think that Japan has made some very great impressions on the world. I want to talk about two different cases where the world could see how unique and special Japanese culture is.

The first was the ski jumping mixed event. The Olympian from Japan named Takanashi Sara. Takanashi Sara had a great jump and everything looked perfect. But it was not perfect. Takanashi got a penalty for her ski suit. Her great jump was canceled and because of that her team could not get a good result. We watched her as she looked so sad. It was like her heart was completely broken. I think we all could feel her pain. When she got up, the first thing she said was, “I am sorry”, and then her team gathered around her to support her.

Takanashi Sara did not get angry. She did not yell. She did not say, “These rules are terrible!” She did not argue and she did not fight. It would be very reasonable for her to be angry and to argue with the event judges. Many other people were also badly affected by this rule. There was some improper management of the rules and several other people were affected. But Takanashi Sara did not make trouble or scream or say that it was unfair. She just said, “I am sorry” to her team.

It was very sad. But also, very beautiful.

And then, later on Mr. Hanyu Yuzuru, the great prince of ice skating had his short program. He is a superstar in ice skating and he has fans all over the world. Here again we watched his performance with great interest. Hanyu skated on the ice and then he went to make his first big jump… but, he couldn’t do it. For some reason he did not do the jumping technique and continued with his performance.

Later we learned that there was a hole in the ice and that because of that Hanyu could not give his best performance. But, just like Takanashi Sara, he did not get angry. He did not say it was not fair. He did not complain. In fact, he said,

“I didn’t feel anything bad. I was saying to myself — okay, this is not working. So I just focused on the next part. I really love to hear the music, and I love to skate to this music.”
Classy. Both Hanyu-san and Takanashi-san did not complain, and did not blame anyone for their performance. They accepted the situation. They accepted the result. And they kept their hearts and minds pure.
I think that both of them won a lot in these Olympics. Maybe not a gold, silver, or bronze medal, but they won a heart made of diamond. And that is a prize they can keep forever.