• Kyodo

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Kiyoko Ono, a member of Japan’s bronze medal-winning women’s team at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and a former member of Japan’s upper house, died on Saturday from the coronavirus, the Liberal Democratic Party announced Thursday. She was 85.

Ono became infected while being treated for a fracture at a hospital. She received treatment for the infection but her situation suddenly worsened.

Both she and her husband Takashi represented Japan in gymnastics at the 1960 Rome Games and in Tokyo four years later, where Takashi won a gold medal. Competing in Tokyo after the birth of her first two children, the team bronze she won remains Japan’s only Olympic women’s gymnastics medal.

Kiyoko Ono competes on the balance beam during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Ono died Saturday at the age of 85. | KYODO
Kiyoko Ono competes on the balance beam during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Ono died Saturday at the age of 85. | KYODO

After retiring from competition, Ono and her husband established a private sports club. In 1986, she won election to the House of Councillors and served three terms, and in 2003 became the first woman to head the National Public Safety Commission.

Ono, who was instrumental in the introduction of Japan’s Toto soccer lottery, was also the first woman vice president of the Japanese Olympic Committee. After retiring from politics, she served as a director of the Japan Sport Council.

In 2016, she received an Olympic Order award from the International Olympic Committee in recognition of her contribution to the Olympic movement.

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