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Skier Minagawa sets sights on medal at Sochi Games

Kyodo News

Alpine skier Kentaro Minagawa said Friday he will continue his career with the aim of winning a medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

The 32-year-old Minagawa, the husband of moguls skier Aiko Uemura, had told Ski Association of Japan officials in late January of his intention to retire after the Vancouver Olympics.

“I had a lot to think about,” Minagawa said at a news conference. “After Vancouver, I felt that I just could not finish yet.”

In his fourth straight Olympics in Vancouver, he skied off the course just 10 seconds into his first run in the slalom event.

Minagawa has suffered from lingering pain in his right knee, on which he had surgery in January 2007 for torn ligaments.

He plans to compete mostly in Japan next season and also in European Cup events if he feels ready.

At the 2006 Turin Olympics, Minagawa fell just 0.03 seconds shy of the podium in the slalom after successfully overcoming a similar operation on his left knee in 2002.

His fourth place was the highest finish by a Japanese Alpine skier since Chiharu Igaya took silver in men’s slalom in Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy in 1956.