Japan’s constituents are most excited for the sport of swimming when the 2020 edition of the Summer Olympic Games kicks off in Tokyo less than 800 days from now. According to a national survey published recently in Japan, the more than 1200 men and women over the age of 20 polled listed swimming as the sport they’re most looking forward to in 2020, followed by gymnastics and marathon running.
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Japanese swimming raced its way to a 4th place position in the overall medal table for the sport. Kosuke Hagino earned individual gold in the men’s 400m IM event, while Rie Kaneto captured the nation’s 2nd gold that year in the women’s 200m breaststroke. Daiya Seto, Natsumi Hoshi, Masato Sakai also earned individual medals in Rio.
While Keneto and Hoshi have since retired, Japan is ripe with emerging talent that may come to a head in 2020 when the athletes compete on their home turf. Rikako Ikee is just 17 years of age right now, but already owns multiple national records and currently ranks within the top 5 in 4 individual events among the world’s best swimmers. Relative newcomer Nao Horomura is also making waves in the men’s 200m fly, while stalwarts Seto and Hagino continue to wreak havoc in the individual medley events.
The Japanese survey also asked respondents to rank their favorite athlete, either domestic or world-wide. No swimmer made the list, however, with baseball taking the top 2 spots in Shoehi Ohtani and Ichiro.