• Olympics & Paralympics

Snowboarder Murase aims for gold medal in 2026

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kokomo Murase shows her bronze medal to reporters during a press conference on Wednesday in Beijing.

BEIJING — Snowboarder Kokomo Murase told reporters of her joy at winning the bronze medal in the women’s big air snowboard finals at the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

“I woke up today to find many messages, and [the result] has sunk in. It really feels great that I could win a medal,” Murase, 17, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

She had placed 10th in the snowboard slopestyle competition on Feb. 6. She felt discouraged, thinking, “This is terrible.” But she was able to put the negative feeling behind her after talking with her family on the phone, she said.

“I bore in mind that I would definitely win a medal in big air and come home with smile on my face. That’s why I was able to take on the challenge,” she said.

Aged 17 years and 3 months, Murase became Japan’s youngest Winter Olympic medalist.

Asked what she would like to do after returning to Japan, she smiled and said, “I want to have a takoyaki [octopus dumpling] party with my family.”

She said it is her goal to take part in the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy with her 15-year-old sister, Yura Murase, also a competitive snowboarder.

“I can’t be finished with a bronze medal. I want to aim for the top and win a gold medal,” she said.