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[JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Kosuke Kitajima to be Inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame in September

A four-time Olympic gold medalist, Kosuke Kitajima became the first swimmer to claim the breaststroke golden double in consecutive Summer Games.



Kosuke Kitajima
Kosuke Kitajima (center) poses with American Brendan Hansen (left) and Hungary's Daniel Gyurta after winning the 200-meter breaststroke final at the 2004 Athens Olympics. (Thomas Kienzle/AP)

Read the full story on SportsLook  - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Kosuke Kitajima to be Inducted into International Swimming Hall of Fame in September

Retired four-time Olympian Kosuke Kitajima had a spectacular swimming career.

Now, more than a decade after his final Olympic race at the 2012 London Games, the Tokyo native will be enshrined at the International Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The announcement came on Tuesday, March 14.

Indeed, Kitajima, 40, is one of the biggest names in aquatic sports in the 21st century. And he'll have his proper day in the spotlight as part of the ISHOF's Class of 2023 induction ceremony on September 30.

It's a star-studded cast of names. Fittingly, American Michael Phelps, who owns a record 28 Olympic medals, including 23 golds, and Phelps' longtime coach Bob Bowman will be inducted together.

The rest of the Class of 2023 includes: 

  • swimmers Cesar Cielo (Brazil), Missy Franklin (United States) and Kristy Coventry (Zimbabwe) 
  • diver Minxia Wu (China) 
  • synchronized (artistic) swimmer Natalia Ischenko (Russia) 
  • water polo player Heather Petri (United States) 
  • open water swimmer Stephane LeCat (France) 
  • coach Chris Carver (United States)
  • contributor Sam Ramsamy (South Africa) 
  • Paralympian Trischa Zorn (United States)

Kitajima famously won the 100-meter and 200-meter men's breaststroke double at the 2004 Athens Olympics, then did it again at the 2008 Beijing Summer Games. 

It was a remarkable achievement. He became the first swimmer to record the breaststroke golden double in consecutive Olympic Games.

Kosuke Kitajima in a file photo from April 2016, the same month he retired from competitive swimming. (ⒸSANKEI)

Kosuke Kitajima: Rise to Stardom on Global Stage

In his Olympic debut in Sydney in 2000, Kitajima, still a high-school student at the time, finished fourth in the 100 and 17th in the 200.

Three years later, he transformed into a bona-fide pool superstar. At the 2003 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona, Kitajima clocked 59.78 seconds and 2 minutes, 9.42 seconds in the 100 and 200, world records in both events, and a pair of headline-grabbing victories.

Speaking to Olympics.com in 2022, Kitajima reflected on how his competitive drive pushed him to great heights in his chosen profession. Specifically, he revealed how he felt he needed to be in a certain state of mind to achieve excellence.

"I can only compete when my innermost heart is burning with passion," Kitajima told the website.


Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and Twitter @ed_odeven