translated by Brett Larner
Late last week London Olympics marathon team member Ryo Yamamoto (27, Team Sagawa Express) visited Moriyama Kindergarten in his hometown of Moriyama to be feted by local kindergarteners, mayor Kazuhiro Miyamoto and others. Wearing his team uniform, Yamamoto was greeted by a teeming swarm of 45 children from the 4-5-year-old class who excitedly shouted out "You're really fast!" and "I saw you on the news!" Students placed a lei made of origami around Yamamoto's neck and gave him with a card saying, "Go for gold!" before singing for him as a chorus. Mayor Miyamoto gave Yamamoto his encouragement, saying, "Let our support be a tailwind behind you," as he presented him with a bouquet of flowers.
On the school's playground Yamamoto ran with the kindergarten students at their speed. "This is a little different from how I'll be running in the big race," he joked with them, saying afterwards, "I got a lot of energy from the children. I want to run aggressively and competitively." Sunflower Class member Ayaka Omori, 6, said, "It was a lot of fun. I hope he gets the gold medal!"