Champion hammer thrower Koji Murofushi
Happy Holidays! 2008's speeding by so quickly that we barely said hi to each other and it's already time to say bye-bye.
But before that, on December 30th, which happens to be my mom's birthday---Boldog Szuletesnapot!-Words to Live by goes out with a huge bang: our guest is superstar athlete, hammer thrower Koji Murofushi san, who's my favorite sportsman.
Words to Live by Koji Murofushi
Here's Koji and me at the Seiko Super Track and Field Meeting in Kawasaki, 2008 on September 23rd, just after Koji won with 81.02 meters.
IMG_0015.jpg
I've been following Koji's career and was thrilled to sit down and listen to him throw some of his wisdom my way. Thanks, Koji san!
Koji Murofushi Official Web includes messages from Koji and lots of photos, many taken by him on his world travels. Nice!
My husband and I are huge Koji Murofushi fans. We always watch his events and pray, cheer, send our power to him, scream, and jump around to Koji's beat. Since he often competes with Hungarians, it should be a tough choice for me but it really isn't: I end up screaming " Koji, GO! Come on, throw an 86! Let's go! You can do it! " Sure, I also cheer the Hungarians, for example, in Kawasaki I did yell out to Krisztian Pars: "Gyerunk, Krisztian, dobj egy jo nagyot! " Yes, I cheer others but my heart is not 100% in it: it's with Koji. Sorry, magyarok! Hungarian hammer throwers
Whether Koji wins a medal or not, he never lets us down: his form is always absolutely beautiful. Watching Koji Murofushi is like seeing great art, alive. Hammer throw might not be the most popular sport but if anyone could ever make it so, it's Koji. His looks help, too: he's gorgeous and tall with features fit for the gods on Mount Olympus.
Koji's attraction goes beyond nationality: he's the finest, the best, the ultimate champion with the most beautiful throws. He's elegant, even when he's swinging a hammer around under 400 kilogram pressure. I'd love to film Koji to show how truly exceptional his form is. His movements are the most graceful and delicate and he still swings the furthest.
I'm sure that Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the International Olympic Committee, would love to see Koji throw. Coubertin's Olympic Games included art and poetry and his idea was that athletes should be examples of beauty.
The International Pierre de Coubertin Committee
Jean Durry on Pierre de Coubertin
According to Jean Durry, in his 1908 speech, Coubertin confirmed that the Olympic idea is "the conception of a strong sporting culture, based in part on the spirit of chivalry, which you so attractively call fair play;, and in part on an aesthetic ideal, the cult of beauty". Jean Durry writes that in 1919 Coubertin explained that "sport should be considered as a producer of, and an occasion for, Art. It produces beauty because it engenders the athlete who is a living sculpture." Unfortunately, the Olympic Games nowadays focus less on form and more on exceptional performance that can be measured with numbers, regardless of aesthetics. This is why Koji is so special: his throws combine distance with beauty.
Koji Murofushi is one of the GREATEST ATHLETES IN THE UNIVERSE, EVER! He won everything already but instead of retiring and becoming a movie star, which he could easily be, he stays on because he loves the hammer. Gotta love his dedication to the sport and to the fans, too.
iaaf page on Koji
Koji's also one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He's sweet, serious, and funny, all rolled into one huge handsomest package. Yes, he's still single which explains why the stadium was filled to the brim on September 23rd at the Seiko Super Track and Field Meeting, Kawasaki, 2008.
RunBlogRun on the Seiko Super Track Field Meeting Kawasaki 2008
There were many other star athletes there, including the four Japanese sprinters who won the bronze in Beijing in the 4x100 meter relay; Nobuhara Asahara , Shingo Suetsugu, Shinji Takahira and Naoki Tsukahara. Guys, you were great! Amazing Usain Bolt was also present and what a presence he has!
I rarely go to sport events so it was a special treat to take a few trains and a bus out to Todoroki Stadium in Yokohama. I love the stadium! Check out the roof design and those gigantic lights.
Todoroki Stadium
IMG_9995 stadium
I was amazed by the crowd and the number of the cheerleaders, too. The stadium's capacity is 26,000 and I could not see many empty seats. The weather was fantastic and it was nice to see families munching on homemade bentos while cheering for the athletes. I saw my neighbors well but the athletes were faaaaaaar, just tiny points on a field and to my surprise, there was only one TV screen set up in the stadium. I assumed that in Japan they would have screens everywhere but not so.
Stadiums are not particularly well-designed for viewing sports---if we want to see anything, it's better to stay at home and watch it on TV. I guess we go to stadiums to feel the excitement: how often can we experience the same thrill with 20,000 people? Nothing beats being out there from an emotional viewpoint. Vision of the games is another issue, though.
The setup at the stadium seemed especially unkind to hammer throwers who have to enter a cage covered in a green net. Once hammer throw is on TV, the camera crews do their best to eliminate the net and the steel frame from view and focus on the athletes and the hammer but in the stadium, the whole cage is really an annoying obstacle. Look below!
IMG_0003.jpg
I found out that the size of the cage changed since the 1960's. With every decade it shrank: in the 1960's, the sector was 90 degrees, by the 70's it went down to 45 degrees and now it's only 35 degrees. The hammer throwers often hit the net as the space is not enough for them to swing in. Why put such majestic athletes in such a cramped space? Working in these shrinking cages also means that records set up in earlier times are harder to break as conditions are not the same today--they are much worst now. I'm sure Koji and his dad have plenty of ideas how to improve the situation and I hope that those in power will listen to them. Please do!
Still, I saw Koji throw a few beauties on September 23rd and he won with 81.02 meters. Congratulations! I quickly took Koji's photo and the next second he was surrounded by dozens of journalists. He was smiling, answering every question like there was nothing he wanted to do more than talk to us, yet I found out later that he had a fever and a terrible cold that day. Nobody noticed! That's what a real pro is, I thought. I already learnt something valuable from him and our interview hasn't even began yet.
When we met weeks later, he was already in perfect health. I felt privileged to spend time with Koji, who's really busy perfecting his throw. Thanks, Koji san!  I hope that you all enjoy reading about this amazing person in the Japan Times on December 30th.
Words to Live by Koji Murofushi
Special thanks to the The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo whose staff took really good care of us. Thanks a lot! JK
【2008/12/29 01:05】 | HOW TO COMMENT | トラックバック(0) | コメント(0)
Judit Kawaguchi's (川口ユディ) FAN BLOG


がんばれ日本!応援団長、川口ユディ(NHK Weekend Japanology人気レポーター, Japan Timesコラムニスト)のファンブログ

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