No snow at the moment so what should you do in Hakuba now. Check out the Olympic Ski Jump. About a 15 minute stroll from the hotel, the ski jumps were constructed for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
Tuesday, February 17, 1998
Harada’s golden redemption
HAKUBA, Japan (AP) — The shame of Lillehammer — it had almost become Masahiko Harada’s nickname.
Failing to hit even a mediocre ski jump at the 1994 Olympics, a failure that cost his team the gold, was a moment that had defined Harada’s life for the past four years.
Now he was atop an Olympic ski jump again — this one at Japan’s first Winter Games in 26 years, in front of 50,000 noisy, expectant countrymen.
On his first leap, under awful conditions, he had taken his team from first to fourth place. As he set up for his second and final attempt, he looked down the windy slope through a light snow and knew what lay ahead was either redemption, or another moment of ruin.
“To be honest, I felt like it was Lillehammer all over again,” he said. “I just decided to do the best I could, to just fly as far as I could.”
History did not repeat itself.
To the resounding “banzai!” cheers of the elated Japanese fans, Harada was all gold, soaring 137 meters to tie the Olympic record set by teammate Takanobu Okabe just minutes before and virtually assuring Japan of the victory. It also was Japan’s 100th Olympic gold medal.
Final jumper Kazuyoshi Funaki, winner of the individual gold on the large hill, jumped 125 meters to make it official.
“We did it! We did it!” Harada cried, embracing his teammates and breaking down into tears.
It was a cry heard round Japan.
You can catch the lift to the top and take in the view that these crazy skiers get when they are about to take off. Imagine the stress that Harada san must have felt before that amazing jump. During the season keep an eye out for the jumpers practicing and we will keep everyone informed of any events throughout the winter.