Hometown supporters of ski jumper Sara Takanashi were putting on a brave face Wednesday after the local youngster, who was seen as a definite gold in Sochi, Russia, missed out on the medals entirely by placing fourth overall.
In her hometown of Kamikawa, Hokkaido, some 300 residents had gathered at an auditorium in the early hours to cheer on one of their own.
Residents chanted “Sara, Sara” as the 17-year-old World Cup leader made her bid to be crowned the first-ever winner in women’s ski jumping at the Olympics on Tuesday.
“I cried. Other people cried, too. I couldn’t help it,” said Masashi Nakamura, 67, who is one of the organizers of a group supporting Takanashi in her neighborhood.
“I think fourth place is a great finish. She is fourth in the world.”