Seven-time Olympic ski jumper Noriaki Kasai isn’t ruling out trying to reach 10 Olympics before he retires, eyeing the 2026 Winter Games if they are awarded to his native Sapporo, should the Japanese city bid.
“My current goal is to win the gold medal at [the] Pyeongchang [2018 Winter Games],” the three-time Olympic medalist Kasai said, according to the Japan Times. “When I reached 40, I decided I would call it quits when I turned 50. But now Sapporo, my birthplace, is bidding for the 2026 Games. I will be 54 by that time, but it is too big a chance to give up.”
Kasai, 42, ranked sixth in last season’s World Cup ski jumping standings, the highest among Japanese, and became the oldest World Cup event winner in history.
At Sochi 2014, Kasai and Russian luger Albert Demtschenko became the first athletes to compete in seven Winter Olympics. Kasai won two medals in Sochi, large hill silver and team event bronze. That came 20 years after he won his first Olympic medal in the Lillehammer 1994 team event.
The Summer record is 10 Olympics, held by Canadian equestrian rider Ian Millar, who competed in the London Games.
The oldest Winter Olympian ever was Swedish curler Carl August Kronlund, who competed in the first Winter Games in Chamonix, France, in 1924 at 58 years old, according to OlympStats.com.