Winter Olympians

Every 4 years the Winter Olympics arrive and evry 4 years I have been amazed to see banners across the roads congradulating local athletes on thier selection to the games. Speed Skating is the sport around here and every year there seems to be a local doing well at the world level. Last year my then 7 year old son Nesta decided to join the school skate team, so my skate education began. Yatsugatake Mountain is quite well know for its cold dry winter air, we don’t get lots of snow here but it stays below zero for a good 3 months every winter, good for making ice. As an ex-pro bicycle racer I am very impressed by the coaching and infrastructure of the local skate clubs. I now understand why the level of cyclists is so low here in Japan, they have no support, by the time an apsiring cyclist figures out how to train properly they are already well into thier 20’s and it is too late. Here are a few shots of last weeks Izumino Elementry School Skate Race. The skate club members and PTA were out on the ice every night for 2 weeks getting the ice ready. The sign in the background is a fight banner for local girl Sayuri Yoshi recently 2nd in the world speed skate championships.