Noriaki Kasai: Veteran Ski Jumper Wins Silver MedalBy: Val Powell - February 17, 2014
In Sochi, Noriaki Kasai is proving to everyone that age doesn’t matter – especially in death-defying sports. The 41-year-old ski jumper from Japan outshone most of his younger competitors in the men’s large hill competition, earning him a silver medal. He is now the oldest Olympic medalist in ski jump history.
Kasai made a clean landing on both jumps, which measured 139 meters and 133.5 meters, respectively. He earned a final score of 277.4, and was barely edged out by Polish ski jumper Kamil Stoch, who got the gold medal.
The Sapporo native competed at the Olympics for the first time in the 1992 Winter Olympics held in Albertville, France. He participated and made his mark in the World Cup and holds multiple records, which include the longest jump for athletes over 35 and the most number of individual and team World Cup performances.
Kasai’s silver medal in Sochi now marks his second Olympic medal. In 1994, he won alongside his teammates in the team large hill event at the Winter Olympics held in Lillehammer, Norway. Kasai’s collective achievements secured his position as the captain of Japan’s Olympic team.
Before the games in Sochi began, Kasai promised to win a medal in honor of his sister, Kumiko Maekawa. She is currently confined to a hospital in Hokkaido for complications caused by hypoplastic anemia. Kasai says that despite the long wait after his first Olympic medal, he is ecstatic to win the silver for his sister.
Kasai’s age does not seem to faze him as he intends to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics, which is due to be held in South Korea. He is definitely the embodiment of the famed resilience and strong work ethic of the Japanese culture. Kasai said that he still dreams of winning an Olympic gold medal and that his failure to do so in Sochi has fueled his desire for a gold medal even more.
See Noriaki Kasai in action
Image via Wikimedia Commons