1500 m women's national record holder and Beijing Olympian Yuriko Kobayashi, 29, gave a lecture on the value of having a dream to new employees at Echizen City Hall as part of their training. The lecture was part of the "Dream Classroom" series, a partnership project between the city government and the Japan Football Association to have top-level athletes teach classes at local elementary and junior high schools. Kobayashi's session was the first in the series aimed at recognizing the dreams of adults.
Speaking to a group of thirty city employees, Kobayashi spoke about her experience running in the National Championships while still in high school, the dedication she and her friends put into becoming the best ekiden team in Japan, and other parts of her career as an athlete, stressing the importance of steady achievement at small goals in the pursuit of a larger dream.
At the Beijing Olympics, one of her major goals, she missed her objective of making the top eight in the 5000 m. She was still motivated after returning to Japan, but afterwards she had difficulty finding a new dream, struggled to produce results, and, dealing with serious injuries, considered retirement. But her high school-era friends encouraged her, telling her to start over from walking, and eventually that led to her making it back to the National Championships level. "There's no big or small in the scale of your dreams," she stressed. "When you find something you can do and pursue that, it will lead you to new dreams."
translated by Brett Larner