Kitajima Wins Double Gold at Beijing Olympics

On August 14, Japanese breaststroke swimmer Kosuke Kitajima–originally from Tokyo Swimming Center, which is run by Tokyo Tenrikyo-kan–added the 200-meter gold medal to the 100-meter title he had won on the 11th, thus successfully defending the two titles he had claimed in Athens four years ago.

He won the 200 meters final in 2 minutes 07.64 seconds, which, although coming up 0.13 short of his own world record set in June, was a new Olympic record. He also finished a half-body length ahead of the silver medalist. His 100 meters time set a world record of 58.91 seconds.

After becoming the first swimmer to capture both the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke titles at consecutive Olympic games, he said: “Although I missed out on beating my record, I am really grateful to have been able to win. I want to thank everyone for the fact that I’ve been able to take the highest position on the podium. I know I couldn’t have done it alone. I want to share this joy with everyone.”

When he said this, Kitajima may well have had his coach in mind, among others, for his achievement also represents the fruits of 12 years of partnership between him and Tokyo Swimming Center’s Norimasa Hirai, who has been coaching Kitajima ever since he was an eighth grader.

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