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Baseball Olympic Games 2020 - Official Payoff

Baseball legend Sadaharu Oh calls Japan gold medal “the greatest”

Baseball legend Sadaharu Oh calls Japan gold medal “the greatest”
08/08/2021
Oh, 81, one of the bearers of the Olympic flame in the Opening Ceremony as well as an attendee for the ceremonial opening pitches for softball and baseball in Fukushima, it has been a pleasure to be a part of the Olympic Games, something that he could not do in his days as a player.

Home Run King Sadaharu Oh was beaming with pride at the Japan National Baseball team calling its gold medal victory over USA on Saturday at Yokohama Baseball Stadium "extra special”.

"To win the gold medal we aspired for is the greatest,” Oh said. “An Olympic gold medal is extra special,” reported the Kyodo News Agency. Oh, 81, who with 868 home runs over 2,831 NPB games holds the world record for the most number of home runs, watched the Olympic baseball gold medal game between Japan and USA from behind home plate before joining the latest generation of Japanese baseball superstars on the field to celebrate Japan's 2-0 win during the medal ceremony.

"I'm really happy we could win this (gold medal) in games we hosted, after striving for it all this time but coming away empty-handed," Oh said. Japanese amateurs won bronze in 1992 and silver in 1996, but teams led by pros struggled in 2000, 2004, and 2008 at the Beijing Olympics when the sport last appeared on the games' sporting slate. Japan had previously lost every Olympic game they played against the United States and South Korea from 2000 to 2008, only breaking those losing streaks at these Tokyo Games.

As a young player with the Yomiuri Giants in 1964, Oh and another of Japan's popular stars, Shigeo Nagashima, took in Japan's first home Olympics in Tokyo. For Oh, one of the bearers of the Olympic flame in the Opening Ceremony as well as an attendee for the ceremonial opening pitches for softball and baseball in Fukushima, it has been a pleasure to be a part of the Olympic Games, something that he could not do in his days as a player. "I've always wanted to be there so I'm very excited to have been involved," he told AFP. "At that time we were in our 20s," Oh said. "Now I'm in my 80s, but I was so excited to once more see the Olympics this year with my own eyes."

Organized under the shadow of the covid-19 pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been a message of "hope for the future", according to Oh. "It is a very sad situation, with many people having difficulties (…). Especially in these tough times, sport can give people pride, make them happy and help them have hope for the future".