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Nagano Olympic gold medalist Okabe retires

Kyodo

Ski jumper Takanobu Okabe, a member of the Japan team that won the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, will retire, his Snow Brand Megmilk club said Tuesday.

The 43-year-old Okabe, a five-time winner on the World Cup circuit, will become a coach at the company’s club, according to people close to him.

Okabe also helped Japan win the team silver medal at the 1994 Lillehammer Games and was captain of the Japanese delegation at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Okabe had held the record as the oldest Japanese ski jumper at 38 to win a World Cup event in March 2009. But it was eclipsed by Sochi Olympic large-hill silver medalist Noriaki Kasai, 41, in January.

Okabe was left off the team for Sochi but won a domestic event at the TVh Cup on March 2.