Grand Slam! Japanese Wrestler Risako Kawai Celebrates Gold by Throwing Coach on Mat After Win
The first-time Olympian had a fun idea to thank her coach after her victorious championship match
The wrestling didn’t stop after the championship match for Risako Kawai in Rio.
The Japanese wrestler, 21, won the gold medal in the women’s 63-kg freestyle on Thursday, and celebrated in style by slamming down her coach, Kazuhito Sakae. The post-win video shows Sakae walking over to congratulate the elated Kawai and just as they embrace, the gold medalist throws her coach to the mat – twice!
Both coach and player were smiling and laughing throughout the short clip, celebrating Kawai’s dominant 3-0 vicotry against Belarus’s Maria Mamashuk. Kawai later credited her coach’s support for earning Japan’s fourth gold medal in women’s wrestling in the Rio Games.
“My coach told me to keep a cool head and be daring, and I always had it in my mind to attack,” Kawai told The Japan Times of Sakae, a former Olympian who competed in the 1988 Games.
Kawai also told reporters the slam was pre-planned and pre-approved by her 53-year-old coach.
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“Before the final, the coach said he wanted me to lift him on his shoulders,” the first-time Olympian said. “The three wrestlers the previous day all won gold so they got to do that, and I said I wanted to be first to slam him and he let me do it.”