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Japanese Sochi champion to feature in Olympic Solidarity video


06 Nov 2014
Bangkok, Thailand: Japan’s Sochi Winter Olympics men’s figure skating champion, Yuzuru Hanyu, will play a starring role in a promotional video by Olympic Solidarity. Hanyu benefited from an Olympic Solidarity athlete scholarship in his preparation for Sochi, where he won the gold medal and wrote himself into Japanese sporting folklore.

Hanyu is from Sendai, which was badly affected by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and he moved to Canada to train for Sochi, assisted by a scholarship from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity programme.
His success story is so moving and inspirational that Olympic Solidarity will make a short documentary clip to promote the OS athlete scholarship programme around the world.

At the Olympic Solidarity Commission meeting in Bangkok on Wednesday, OS reported that 77 athletes from 16 Asian NOCs received financial support in the run-up to Sochi. These were among 440 grants from 77 NOCs, 273 of whom qualified for the 2014 Winter Olympics, or 62 per cent.

OS scholarship athletes won a total of 17 medals, comprised of seven gold, five silver and five bronze, with Japan’s Hanyu the sole Asian to win a gold medal. Hanyu, 19 at the time of his Sochi success, was training in his local ice rink at Sendai when the earthquake struck, and he was forced to rush out into the street still wearing his skates when the building started to shake.

From this point his skating future was in doubt, but he continued, with the support of family and friends, and reaped the ultimate reward in Sochi. The Sochi Winter Olympics was only the second Winter Games to receive Olympic Solidarity sponsorship with a budget of US$10 million.
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