17-year-old Anri Kawamura places 5th in moguls at Winter Games

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Anri Kawamura competes during the women’s moguls final at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Sunday.

BEIJING — Anri Kawamura finished fifth with 77.12 points in the women’s moguls final on Sunday at the Beijing Winter Games, while Jakara Anthony of Australia won the gold with 83.09 points.

All of the members of the Japanese team made it through the qualifying round, but Junko Hoshino, Kisara Sumiyoshi and Hinako Tomitaka were eliminated in the first round of the final in 13th, 15th and 19th places, respectively.

Kawamura had the chance to become the youngest Japanese woman ever to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. “I’m so sorry that I couldn’t win a medal even after being listed as a medal hopeful,” the 17-year-old said as tears welled up in her eyes.

Kawamura was one of the six competitors to make it to the third final. She had good rhythm in her turns, but her landing of the second aerial move was slightly erratic, and that little mistake had a big impact on her score.

“I want to believe in the path I’ve taken so far,” Kawamura said before the Games. She has been skiing since she was 3 years old, and when she was in elementary school, she left her home in Tokyo to live in Niigata Prefecture during the snow season. In junior high school, Kawamura and her mother moved to the prefecture so she could further devote herself to skiing.

At the age of 15, Kawamura competed in a World Cup for the first time and came in second place, giving her the confidence to compete on the world stage. However, after that, she was not able to achieve the results she wanted, and there was a time when she was worried that she would not be able to win a medal at the Olympics.

She learned how to do a “carving turn,” which uses the edges of the skis without shifting them. The move is quite difficult and rare for women to do. She also attempted the Cork 720, a highly difficult aerial technique and, as her accuracy increased, she earned her first World Cup victory this season and picked up two more. Kawamura went to Beijing with confidence.

Even in her first Olympics, Kawamura never forgot to go on the offensive, and she put on a magnificent performance.

“I’m very disappointed,” Kawamura said. “I want to prepare for the next Olympics and win a gold medal next time.”

Her goal to reach the pinnacle continues.