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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 17, 2014)
ASIA / PACIFIC
February 17, 2014
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 3
Teenage snowboarder goes big
in Sochi to capture silver medal
WINTRY WEATHER. Railway station workers move snow from the
street in Yokohama, Japan in early February. The Tokyo area was hit by
a rare heavy snowfall this month, stalling trains, grounding flights, and
blanketing roads and skyscrapers with snow. The Japan Meteorological
Agency issued its first heavy snowfall warning for central Tokyo in 13
years. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Tokyo hit by rare
TOKYO (AP) — The Tokyo area was hit by a rare heavy
snowfall early this month, stalling trains, grounding
flights, and blanketing roads and skyscrapers with
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued its first heavy
snowfall warning for central Tokyo in 13 years, cautioning
residents about more snow and rain that would gradually
Several universities in Tokyo postponed the start of
entrance exams because of delays in metropolitan trains
and subways, known for almost always being on time.
Major carriers Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways
suspended domestic flights from Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
Some bullet trains were delayed and parts of expressways
Japanese media said dozens of injuries were reported
from people slipping and falling, or crashing their cars.
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — For a
nation that’s never won a medal in
snowboarding, Japan sure looked awfully
Teenager Ayumu Hirano captured silver and
his teammate, Taku Hiraoka, took bronze in the
men’s Olympic halfpipe final at the Sochi
Games. But no one could touch Iouri
Podladtchikov, the Swiss rider who was born in
Russia and goes by the nickname “I-Pod.” He
threw down his new trick, called the “Yolo,” to
flip and spin his way to gold, ending the reign of
American Shaun White.
White and I-Pod were the two big stars
coming in. But no one knew all that much about
Hirano and Hiraoka. Now maybe that will
This is especially true for Hirano, who had all
the talent to go with the big tricks, but he’s been
banged up this season. He even pulled out of the
recent Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado
because of a foot injury.
“I decided to win by jumping really high and
that’s a good thing,” Hirano said.
He’s only 15, too, which means he will be
challenging White for years to come. White is
well aware of that, too.
“This is an amazing start and I wish him the
best of luck in his career,” White says. “He’s 15!”
Actually, as someone pointed out, he’s 15
years and 74 days.
“Oh man, okay, he’s going to retire soon,”
The performances of Hirano and Hiraoka
could put Japanese snowboarding on the map,
or so Hiraoka hopes.
“I’d like to see snowboarding develop more in
Japan,” he said.
As for Hiraoka’s bronze medal, it caught even
him by surprise.
“Surprised very much,” he said.
TALENTED TEEN. Japan’s Ayumu Hirano competes in the men’s snowboard
halfpipe final at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park at the 2014 Winter Olympics in
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. Fifteen-year-old Hirano won the silver medal. His team-
mate, Taku Hiraoka, took home the bronze. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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