Mikako Kotani, 56, a legend of Japanese synchronized swimming (now known as artistic swimming) who was once called the “Queen of Synchronized Swimming,” will return to the sport. Kotani will appear on the February 25 broadcast of “Birthday” (TBS). She will be paired with Mayo Fujimaru (43), who won the silver medal at the ’04 Athens Olympics in the same sport, and will make her return to competition after 30 years at the “World Masters Swimming” to be held in August.
Kotani’s name became famous throughout Japan in 1985 when she competed in the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships and came in second in the solo event and won the duet event. It had been said that Japanese swimmers were at a disadvantage in synchronized swimming, which is a competition of skill and beauty in the water, compared to athletes from Russia and the U.S., who have longer legs.
In December of that year, this magazine interviewed Kotani, who had competed in the 1985 Synchronized competition.
Kotani said, “No matter how much it’s a sport that shows off the body, I’m not comfortable with photos that show only the lower half of the body or the legs. Because when we see them, we know who they are even if it is only the lower half of their bodies,” Kotani said.
He also expressed his doubts about the photos that have appeared in sports newspapers since that time,
I’m the type of person who doesn’t gain weight, and I’m a sucker for taro. I’m the type of person who doesn’t get fat, and I’m a sucker for taro, whether it’s baked taro, college taro, or dried taro. I don’t have a girlfriend, nor do I want one. I’m more of a gourmand than a sexy person. I consider myself a unique person, so I don’t like average people. When I see couples on the street, I think that they will break up someday, and I feel discouraged. I’m more envious when I see a girl riding a motorcycle. But for now, I’m just trying to make it to Seoul.
He is a cheerful person and shows a strong heart. At the opening ceremony of the Seoul Olympics, she was the flag bearer for the Japanese delegation, and won bronze medals in both the solo and duet (as a pair with Kyo Tanaka). She was selected to represent Japan at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, but was unable to compete as a sub member, and announced her retirement after the Olympics. She announced her retirement after the Olympics, and there was a lot of talk about whether she would go into show business. She has served as a sports commentator, a member of the International Olympic Committee, and a member of the government’s Education Revitalization Council. He is currently a member of the Japan Olympians Committee and a lecturer at Rikkyo University.
The August event is an international competition for the world’s best in each age group, in which many Olympic athletes of the past have competed. Mr. Kotani said,
“I am anxious because I feel like I am taking on something new and unknown,” she said.
I would like to be on the podium, and I would like to win a medal.
I want to be on the podium, and I want them to put a medal on me,” she declared. Will the legend become arafifth queen again?
PHOTO.： Kazunori Tajima, Ryu Kanzaki, Hitoshi Mochizuki, Shinya Inui, Toshihiro Nakaikawa