Finally, a gold medal for Japan


Finally, Japan got a gold medal as figure skater Shizuka Arakawa performed flawlessly in the Turin Winter Olympics. Arakawa, 24, became the first Japanese Olympic gold medalist in figure skating and just the second with any medal; Midori Ito, one of Arakawa's idols, won silver behind Kristi Yamaguchi in 1992. Ito led the cheers of the flag-waving Japanese in the crowd. Actually, it is the first Asian Olympics gold medal ever in figure skating.

Arakawa used music from Puccini's opera "Turandot" for her free skate program, and Japan's Prime Minister Koizumi in his congratulatory phone call to Arakawa, said that was a good choice, as he is also a opera fan.

Born in on December 29, 1981 in Tokyo, Shizuka surprised the skating world by winning the 2004 World Championship in Dortmund, Germany, becoming the third Japanese woman to claim the title after Midori Ito (1989) and Yuka Sato (1994). Dividing her time between Simsbury and Japan, Shizuka had another successful season in 2004-05, winning the NHK Trophy (Japan’s stop on the Grand Prix tour). You can see the Turin event video here.


Meanwhile, Sweden has so far won 5 gold medals, our best Winter Olympics ever (wow, do I feel patriotic or what). Congratulations, everyone: Hurra, hurra!

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