Like many, I’m looking forward to this year’s Summer Olympic Games.
They will be held in London, a city which was my home for over seven years. A vibrant place populated by eight million people from all over the world. It’s only fitting that this international city is the host to the Olympics. I can’t wait to see familiar places and streets while the marathon runners will progress through this great metropolis.
Although I don’t usually watch opening ceremonies at any sports events, this time I’ll make an exception. This year’s ceremony is going to be directed by a British movie director Danny Boyle who won eight Academy Awards in 2009 with his movie hit Slumdog Millionaire. It will be interesting to see what he can do with this completely different type of media. From what I’ve read in various British newspapers I understand that Boyle went for the spectacular, but was later told to cut on the scale. So we’ll see how he manages the enormous task in his hands.
There are many events I can’t wait to watch.
The most exciting must be the 100m sprint that will include all four of the fastest men on earth. Of course, one of them is Usain Bolt. The other three sprinters are just marginally off the pace from Bolt. Hopefully, it means that this year’s finals will be more competitive than in Beijing where he showed to the world there was nobody anywhere near as fast as he was.
Another athlete to watch out for is Michael Phelps who won eight gold medals in Beijing. All together, Phelps holds sixteen medals from three different Olympics. He is the greatest swimmer in the history and now has a chance to rewrite the history of Olympics. It’s quite possible that he’ll manage to win more than eighteen medals in consecutive Games (a record made by a Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina between 1956 and 1964). All he needs is three more medals of any colour and he’ll become the greatest sportsman in the history of the Olympic Games.
I’ve been asking our students at Smith’s School of English Kyobashi (スミス 英会話 京橋) to give me some tips about Japanese athletes and events they are looking for.
Many students talk about Nadeshiko Japan (なでしこジャパン) – women’s national football team, the current World Cup holders. After their recent success, it is understandable that Japan has high hopes for this team which is expected to progress to the final stages of the tournament.
There is also a gymnast Kohei Uchimura (内村航平), nicknamed Superman, who won last three world championships. His nickname is based on the fact that for the last three years he’s been showing displays of enormous difficulty, that other gymnasts aren’t able to do. What’s more, he’s been performing his routines with such an ease and elegance that his opponents have absolutely no chance to beat him. I’ve never really watched gymnastics before, but I’ll try to catch this young man’s display to see the difference in class for myself.
Some students are also mentioning the oldest member of the Japanese Olympic Team, Hiroshi Hoketsu (法華津 寛). He’s the world’s oldest athlete coming to London. At the age of 71 he’ll be competing in equestrian. I’ve always been impressed by the vitality of elderly people in Japan, but Hiroshi Hoketsu is taking it to the next level. While many of us would at his age consider ‘walk by the river’ or ‘game of petanque’ as an appropriate exercise, Mr. Hoketsu will compete at the top level in his discipline. And make no mistake, equestrian is not some recreational sport, it requires perfect physical condition and sharp reflexes.
As this very few examples indicate, it’s shaping to be another great summer of sports and big achievements in London 2012.
So who are your favourites for this year? And which sports are you going to watch?