translated by Brett Larner
London Olympics men's marathon 6th-place finisher Kentaro Nakamoto (29, Team Yasukawa Denki) returned home at Kita-Kyushu Airport on Aug. 15, greeted with bouquets of flowers and blessings from the assembled crowd. All he could say in return was a shy, "Thank you." Sporting a suit, Nakamoto was first greeted in the arrival hall by former Yasukawa Denki runner Keitaro Murase, 38, who pumped his hand in a hearty handshake and said, "Congratulations!" as applause rang out all around them.
Straining to hold back his emotions, Nakamoto told the crowd, "I ran to the absolute best of my ability. I'm not satisfied with the result, but I can come back now and say to you from the heart that I gave it my best." In training for London Nakamoto has barely seen his son Riku, who was born less than two months ago, and, he said, "My family was biggest motivation. I wanted to be able to tell my son, 'Your dad gave it everything he had.' Looking four years ahead I want to keep doing the best job I can."
Team Yasukawa Denki head coach Naoki Yamagashira commented, "I'm very happy that he was able to bring the full benefits of his training into play. The plan now is for him to take it nice and easy as he enjoys the rewards of his success." Murase added his personal blessing, saying, "Kentaro realized the dream that all of us held. He's an incredible person."