Japanese trampolinist bounces back from pandemic scupper dream

SAITAMA, Japan (Reuters) – Japanese trampolinist Tetsuya Sotomura was pushing for his country’s final qualification spot for the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, but his dream was shattered when the Games were postponed.

At 35, he had already decided the Olympics would be his final event and when organizers made the decision to postpone the Games to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sotomura knew his body wouldn’t hold up. for another year.

“Before the corona, I had already decided to retire after the Tokyo Olympics, that is, this summer of 2020,” Sotomura told Reuters in his office north of Tokyo.

“The news was very shocking,” he added. “I wanted to participate in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, but the Games were moved to a year later. It effectively meant my retirement.

Sotomura’s gymnast father Koji won two bronze medals at the 1984 Olympics and Tetsuya narrowly missed out when he finished fourth at the Beijing Games in 2008.

Injuries had prevented Sotomura from returning to the Olympics since, but the lure of one last shot at home glory saw Sotomura compete well into his 30s.

Sotomura isn’t bitter about missing the Games and is instead focused on new projects, like working with Airbnb’s athlete experiences program and starting her own trampoline center.

He said the pandemic made it even more important to focus on the future.

“Of course, my wife and my family hoped that I would go to the Olympics and they support me, so (they) are a bit sad that I retired,” Sotomura said.

“But, they are in a difficult situation with corona, so I am happy to be able to support them.

“I think I have a dream now, so I don’t miss (the trampoline). I can see the future, so now I’m happy.

Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Nick Mulvenney and Kim Coghill

Comments are closed.