Back in early 2000, when Japanese runner Naoko Takahashi and her charismatic coach, Yoshio Koide, were training for the Olympic marathon in Sydney, there was no precedent for what they were trying to achieve: no Japanese woman had ever won an Olympic athletics event, let alone the marathon. But Takahashi had won the Nagoya Marathon (her first) two years earlier after moving up from the 5,000m, and the same year, she won the marathon at the Asian Games, by a huge margin. In 2000, she won the gold medal in the Olympic marathon in Sydney by a nail-biting eight seconds – and tomorrow, one week before the Olympics start in Tokyo, the Olympic Channel is releasing the new film that tells her story.
Takahashi went on to set a world record in Berlin, where she was the first woman to go sub-2:20 in the marathon. Altogether she won seven marathons, but repeated injuries forced her into retirement in 2008, without ever winning another world championships or Olympic marathon.
Five Rings Films is produced for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) global media platform by producer Frank Marshall and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM).
Starting Friday, July 16, you can stream the film for free, here.