(ATR) The Japan Sports Agency set lofty goals for the country’s athletes, seeking to earn the most gold medals in the country’s history at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu celebrates his gold medal victory at London 2012. (Getty Images)
President of the JSA Daichi Suzuki says he wants Japan to take home 20 gold medals at the Olympics on home soil, four more than the country has ever won at a single Olympics.
In order to reach this milestone, Suzuki wants to use the upcoming Games in Rio de Janeiro as a stepping stone. He wants to see 10 gold medals earned by Japan at Rio 2016, a three-gold improvement from the country’s performance at London 2012.
"One of the reasons we set these goals is that when top athletes are successful, they inspire citizens to get involved in sports," Suzuki said. "It creates a virtuous cycle."
Suzuki won gold at 1988 Olympics in the 100m backstroke. (Getty Images)
The best performance by Japan at the Olympics came at the first Summer Games hosted by the country in 1964. Japan took home 16 gold medals at Tokyo 1964, inspiring top-five finishes by the country in the next three editions of the Games.
Suzuki, a gold medalist from Seoul 1988, was appointed as president of the JSA on Oct. 1 when the government agency was established to help increase Japan’s international competitiveness.
Suzuki gave a linchpin on what he considers vital to improving Japan's performances.
"In order to emerge to the top level of sports on a global basis, perhaps we need to focus not so much on harmony and cooperation but at times place emphasis on autonomy and creativity.”
Written by Kevin
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