Horishima grabs 1st Japan medal of Olympics with moguls bronze

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Ikuma Horishima hoists a Japanese flag after winning the bronze medal in the men’s moguls on Saturday night in Zhangjiakou, China.

BEIJING — Ikuma Horishima became Japan’s first medalist at the Beijing Winter Olympics, winning a bronze in the men’s moguls event on Saturday night.

Horishima scored 81.48 points in the final at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, to give Japan a medal in the event for the second consecutive Olympics.

Sweden’s Walter Wallberg won the gold medal with 83.23 points and defending Olympic champion Mikael Kingsbury of Canada took the silver with 82.18.

Daichi Hara, the bronze medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, finished in seventh place, while Kosuke Sugimoto, who placed sixth in the qualifying round, ended up ninth.

Horishima was the only Japanese among the six who advanced to the third round of the final, held in a tense air of minus 15 C.

Waiting in the finish area for his score to appear, his stern expression suddenly softened when it was assured he could finish no lower than third. He thrust his hands in the air several times.

“My goal was to at least get a medal,” the 24-year-old Horishima said. “I’m so happy to get it.”