Takanashi apologizes for disqualification, fans send messages of support

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Sara Takanashi reacts following her second jump in the mixed team event at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games on Monday.

BEIJING — Japanese ski jumper Sara Takanashi, whose disqualification in the first round of the mixed team ski jumping event due to a suit violation cost Japan a medal at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, issued an apology on Instagram on Tuesday evening for the disappointment she caused.

In response, messages of support and encouragement have since been flooding into Takanashi’s Instagram account.

As of 9 a.m. JST on Wednesday, there were more than 30,000 such replies to her apology post from people saying things like, “Please don’t blame yourself,” “Come back with your chin up” and “You are the pride of Japan.”

Among those who posted messages was Chinami Yoshida, 30, of Japan’s curling team, who said, “Courage is the only thing you give me always, Sara-chan.”

In the competition on Monday night, Takanashi’s first-round jump was eliminated from the Japan team score because her suit was ruled to be too loose in violation of the rules. That left Japan, one of the favorites for the gold medal, with just seven of eight jumps counting — even so, the squad finished just 8.3 points behind third-place Canada, equivalent to about 4 meters.

Takanashi’s message

Takanashi’s apology, posted along with a completely black image, reads as follows (including a postscript):

To all of you who support Team Japan,

I sincerely apologize for depriving everyone on Team Japan of medal opportunities by my disqualification in the mixed team event and for the result that has deeply disappointed all of you who cheer for the team and those of you who are involved in the event and support the team.

It is an undeniable fact that my disqualification changed everyone’s life. Even if I apologize, it won’t give us the medal. Nor is there anything I can do to fix this. However, I need to think about my future competitions. I deeply regret that I have done such an outrageous thing.

And I cannot give enough thanks to Yuki [Ito]-san, Yukiya [Sato]-san and Ryoyu [Kobayashi], as well as other members and all the staff of Team Japan for supporting me until the very last moment even though the medal became out of reach because of me. Thank you very much for accepting me for all this.

I humbly apologize for what happened this time.

Sara Takanashi

While I am completely aware that I am in no position to say this, but if I am allowed to say it, let me say that I cordially hope that this wonderful sport of ski jumping will let athletes and their teams genuinely share joy with each other, not turmoil.