Winter Games Athletes
The reigning Olympic bronze medalist, Takahashi heads to his third and likely final Games looking to deliver one more medal-winning performance in a career that’s made him an icon in his home country. Takahashi finished eighth in the Torino Games in 2006 after winning his first of four straight Japanese championships, then climbed to third in Vancouver. That was the year he became the most recognized figure skater in Japan, following up his third-place finish at the 2010 Games just a month later by becoming the first Japanese man to win a world singles title. He’s won six more international golds since then, but his latest performance at Japan’s championships left his inclusion on the team heading to Sochi in doubt. He fell on his opening jump in his free skate, two-footed another and put his hand down on a third, leaving him with a bloody hand and in tears during his post-skate interview. Takahashi finished fifth but was named to Japan’s three-person team anyway, joining teen sensation Yuzuru Hanyu and silver medalist Tatsuki Machida. Takahashi admits that winning bronze in Vancouver turned his life and career around, and he’d love to put a cap on an outstanding international career with a gold in Sochi.