PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) At forty five years of age and competing in a document eighth Winter Video games, Noriaki Kasai is hoping Pyeongchang turns into the venue for his largest Olympic achievement.
Kasai is one among six male ski jumpers representing Japan in Pyeongchang, the place he’ll surpass Russian luger Albert Demchenko’s mark for probably the most appearances on the Winter Olympics.
Whereas Kasai has struggled this season on the World Cup circuit, he has a historical past of coming by way of on the Olympic stage.
Few gave Kasai a lot of an opportunity of getting close to the medals at Sochi in 2014, however he nailed two jumps within the giant hill remaining to take the silver and end simply 1.three factors behind Poland’s Kamil Stoch.
Kasai, who can be Japan’s flag bearer on the opening ceremony, has made no secret about what his objectives are at these Olympics.
”I need to win the gold,” Kasai stated. ”Profitable gold in Pyeongchang is my goal. I’ve but to win Olympic gold.”
Kasai made his Olympic debut at Albertville in 1992 and has appeared in each Winter version since. He gained a silver medal as a member of Japan’s workforce in Lillehammer in `ninety four, and added the silver and a group bronze in Sochi.
Together with his dedication to his craft, Kasai has earned the respect of his youthful rivals.
”Noriaki Kasai is one in every of my largest idols and is a legend in our sport,” Norway ski jumper Daniel Andre Tande stated. ”It’s superb that at this age he’s nonetheless competing at this degree.”
Tande, who was born the yr Kasai gained his first Olympic medal, stated the Japanese veteran might simply be a contender in Pyeongchang.
”If the circumstances are proper and he’s doing his greatest then in fact there’s nothing stopping him,” Tande stated. ”He’s a great ski jumper – if the whole lot is about he can completely get a medal.”
Kasai was born in Shimokawa on Japan’s northernmost Island of Hokkaido, a city with a inhabitants of lower than 5,000 however one which has produced 5 Olympic ski jumpers. The yr Kasai was born, Sapporo hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics.
The host nation gained solely three medals that yr, all in ski leaping when Yukio Kasaya led a Japanese sweep of the rostrum within the regular hill occasion.
It was a end result that fostered the nation’s love of ski leaping, and Kasai has performed an essential position in retaining the game entrance and middle in Japan.
Kasai began ski leaping when he was 9, and made his World Cup debut in 1988 on the age of sixteen. He completed thirty first general in that competitors however it was the beginning of…