translated by Brett Larner
Athens Olympics 7th-place finisher Naoko Sakamoto (32, Team Tenmaya) held a retirement press conference Mar. 19 in Okayama. Smiling as she looked back on her career, she told the media, "I'm proud of having run Athens. The marathon was a part of me."
With regard to her reasons for retiring she said, "My heart's not in the training any more, and it's just gotten to the point where little things accumulate and get to me. Beginning in April she will become an advisory member of Tenmaya's coaching staff, supporting the team's younger members.
Sakamoto joined Tenmaya in 1999, winning the 2004 Osaka International Women's Marathon to make the Athens Olympics team. After Athens she suffered an endless series of injuries, and after January's Kita-Kyushu Women's Invitational Ekiden she announced her retirement at the end of the 2012-13 season.