after Tokyo, twin Olympian Hirano switches up for Beijing

TOKYO: Solely 4 months have handed since Japan’s Ayumu Hirano competed on the Tokyo Video games, now he’s gearing up for one more crack at Olympic gold — this time on Beijing’s snow in February.

Hirano took half within the park competitors as skateboarding made its Olympic debut this summer season, lacking out on the eight-man ultimate after ending 14th out of 20 in qualifying.

The 23-year-old — who sports activities dreadlocks — will likely be on a extra acquainted footing assuming that he makes Japan’s snowboard halfpipe workforce for the Beijing Video games, having claimed silver on the previous two Winter Olympics.

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However time is in opposition to him as he makes the change from one board to a different, with solely two months left till the Video games start on February 4.

“I’ve to suit my preparations right into a shorter time than ever earlier than and it’s a brand new expertise for me,” Hirano instructed reporters this week.

“It’s a race in opposition to time. I’m in a state of affairs the place I’ve to rush.”

Hirano made his Olympic debut as a 15-year-old on the 2014 Sochi Video games, ending second behind Iouri “iPod” Podladtchikov within the snowboard halfpipe.


He claimed silver once more in Pyeongchang 4 years later, dropping out to American legend Shaun White for gold.

Hirano proved his versatility by changing into a twin Olympian at Tokyo’s Video games and hopes it is going to assist in his quest for glory in Beijing.

“I took issues from it that I couldn’t have gotten anyplace else,” he stated of skateboarding at Tokyo.

“Small issues in the best way I felt. There was a sense of unease that was totally different from competing on a snowboard. I need to make use of what I discovered from that.”

Hirano grew up in Niigata, on Japan’s snowy western coast, and infrequently went skateboarding together with his brothers throughout the sunny summer season months.

His youthful brother Kaishu — additionally a snowboarder hoping to make Japan’s Olympic workforce — describes Ayumu’s summer-winter double achievement as “unthinkable”.

“I’d watch him do issues on a skateboard and assume they have been unimaginable, however I had extra confidence on a snowboard so I focused on that,” Kaishu stated.

“To have the ability to compete in each is one thing wonderful that appears unimaginable to me.”

‘Flipped a change’

Hirano admitted feeling “anxious” at his house Tokyo Video games and didn’t have the “identical peace of thoughts” as he does on snow.

However he stated the expertise made him mentally stronger and he’s anticipated to once more contend for Winter Olympic gold in Beijing.

Hirano admitted he has had “much less time on the slopes” than his rivals and is aware of he should stand up to hurry rapidly to remain aggressive.

“Till very just lately it didn’t really feel like the opposite riders had made such large progress of their method, however within the final half a 12 months, everybody has flipped a change and out of the blue made an enormous enchancment,” he stated.

“It’s a aggressive world so if one individual tries one thing new, everybody else tries it too.”

Hirano is prone to renew his rivalry with 35-year-old three-time champion White in Beijing, with Japan team-mate Yuto Totsuka and Australia’s Scotty James additionally sturdy contenders for gold.

Hirano is getting ready to start his World Cup season this weekend in Colorado, because the Beijing countdown begins in earnest.

“I used to be away from snowboarding for a very long time and it’s been some time since I used to be in a contest,” he stated.

“I’m wanting ahead to seeing what stage I’m at.”

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