Japanese Olympians honoured in annual Olympic Day Awards

26 | 7 | 2017

The Olympians Association of Japan (OAJ) celebrated Olympic Day by joining the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) to honour the country’s athletes at the 2017 JOC Sports Awards and Olympic Concert.    

JOC Sports Awards are presented to those who have distinguished themselves in promoting the Olympic Movement and various areas of sport. The ceremony is held each year to commemorate Olympic Day.

This year, the Most Valuable Athlete Award - the most prestigious award among the annual awards - was awarded to four-time Olympic freestyle wrestling champion Kaori Icho (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 & Rio 2016), who became the first female Olympian to win four consecutive titles in the same Olympic discipline when she won gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Triple Olympian Kohei Uchimura (Beijing 2008, London 2012 & Rio 2016) also received a Special Distinction Award, for career achievements, which included three gold and four silver medals in artistic gymnastics. A full list of Olympians who received awards at this year’s ceremony can be found below.

The awards ceremony was followed by the 2017 Olympic Concert which integrates sport and culture by combining film sequences of Olympic competition with orchestral performances and interviews with Olympians projected onto multiple screens. The Japanese Olympic Committee has staged the Olympic Concert as a cultural event since 1997 in order to convey the values and wonder of the Olympic Games to a wide cross-section of society.

Daichi Suzuki, Olympic swimming champion and President of the Olympians Association of Japan, said:

“Olympic Day in Japan is always very special as not only are we celebrating the Olympic values and promoting involvement in sport but we also have the opportunity to honour our Olympic athletes at the annual JOC Sports Awards ceremony, recognising their incredible achievements on the world stage and the positive impact they have on society.

“Our Olympic Concert also helps to engage people from outside our sporting family in the Olympic Movement. It is a great occasion that is very much a highlight of the sport and cultural calendar in Japan.”

Olympic Day runs are also held throughout the year in Japan, providing multiple additional opportunities for Olympians to engage and inspire communities through sport and the Olympic values.


JOC Sports Awards

Most Valuable Athlete Award

  • Four-time Olympic freestyle wrestling champion Kaori Icho (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016) 

Merit Award

  • Olympic swimming champion Kosuke Hagino (London 2012 & Rio 2016)
  • Speed skating silver medallist Nao Kodaira (Vancouver 2010 & Sochi 2014)
  • Olympic judo champion Shohei Ono (Rio 2016)
  • Gold medal winning badminton duo Ayaka Takahashi (Rio 2016) Misaki Matsutomo (Rio 2016) 

Rookie of the Year Award

  • Rio 2016 gold medal winning wrestler Mayu Mukaida (Rio 2016)

Special Distinction Award

  • Triple Olympian Kohei Uchimura (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016)

Outstanding Performance Award

  • Men’s gold medal winning 4x100m track relay team - Yoshihide Kiryu (Rio 2016), Asuka Cambridge (Rio 2016), Ryota Yamagata (London 2012 & Rio 2016) and Shota Iizuka (London 2012 & Rio 2016)
  • Table tennis player Jun Mizutani (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016)
  • Bronze medal winning canoeist Takuya Haneda (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016)

Meritorious Service Award

  • Double Olympic skiing champion Kenji Ogiwara (Albertville 1992, Lillehammer 1994, Nagano 1998, Salt Lake City 2002)
  • Olympic skier Tsugiharu Ogiwara (Nagano 1998)


Photo credit : © PHOTO KISHIMOTO