San Francisco State UniversityWeb A-ZFind it Fast

   Japanese gold medalist takes a break from judo for English at S.F. State



Ted DeAdwyler

(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs

The Giants' Tsuyoshi Shinjo isn't the only star Japanese athlete in town

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 18, 2002 -- Tadahiro Nomura knows the pressure facing athletes in the Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City. He himself holds two Olympic gold medals in judo representing Japan. Were he in Utah today, Nomura said he would tell his Japanese counterparts: "Gambare," which roughly translated means do your best and try your hardest.

But Nomura isn't in the Olympic Village for these Games. The 27-year-old is keeping a low profile while studying English at San Francisco State University's American Language Institute. It's a much-deserved break from the everyday routine of judo since he was in grade school in Japan.

"It is good to get away for a while," said Nomura through an interpreter as S.F. State's Judo Club and classes began practice recently in the basement of Burk Hall on the campus. "In Japan, they know me as the judo gold medalist. Here no one really knows me."

That suits Nomura just fine. In Japan he is constantly asked to give speeches or conduct clinics on judo. And he rarely turns down those requests.

After spending time in class learning English at S.F. State, Nomura now spends his days driving around the Bay Area, and playing golf and tennis.

"He really needed the break," said David Matsumoto, a judo adviser to Nomura and a professor of psychology at S.F. State who also teaches judo at the university. "All his world was judo in Japan and after preparing for two Olympics and coming away with gold medals, he needed a change."

And Nomura says he is enjoying every minute of his stay, which began last fall. "I really like it here in San Francisco and at San Francisco State. This is a very beautiful city and I like the relaxed atmosphere on the campus."

Nomura began his career in judo at the age of five by practicing with his older brother. A tradition of judo competition runs in the Nomura family. His grandfather and father competed in Japan and his uncle won a gold medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics. In 1995, Nomura won the All-Japan Judo Competition in the 60kg (132 pound) class. He then won the championship in the International Judo Competition in Germany before taking the gold in Atlanta. And in Sydney in 2000, Nomura took home another gold medal for Japan.

Once he finishes his studies at S.F. State in June, Nomura plans to return to Japan to prepare for the Games in Athens in 2004. "I will compete in tournaments in Japan and see if I am good enough to get another gold medal," Nomura said.

- ### -

Note to editors: To contact Tadahiro Nomura, call Ted DeAdwyler of the S.F. State Public Affairs Office at (415) 338-7110.

San Francisco State University Home     Search     Need Help?    

1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132    415/338-1111
Last modified April 24, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs