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Ski jumping: Noriaki Kasai's consecutive Olympic streak in doubt

Noriaki Kasai is seen in Sapporo on Oct. 21, 2021. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Ski jumper Noriaki Kasai's hopes of making his ninth Olympic appearance, at next year's Beijing Winter Games, are in danger after he was left off Japan's international team on Sunday.

    Japan's top five jumpers in the World Cup overall rankings as of Jan. 6 will qualify for the Feb. 4-20 games. Kasai finished 22nd in the national championships on the large hill in Sapporo on Sunday and failed to meet the Olympic standard.

    The chances of the 49-year-old Japanese competing internationally this season are very slim, but Kasai is clear that his nonselection does not mean retirement.

    "I turn 50 next year but I have zero intention of quitting. I'll go as far as I can," he said.

    "Even if this ninth time is beyond my grasp, there is also an Olympics four years after. I want to aim for 2030, when Sapporo is bidding to host. I want to be able to show what a person can do, even in their 50s."

    Kasai, the first athlete in history to compete at eight Winter Olympics, debuted in 1992 in Albertville at the age of 19. Since then he qualified for each of the following Winter Olympics through Pyeongchang in 2018.

    As an Olympian, Sapporo-born Kasai has won three medals over a 20-year span. He has a team silver from Lillehammer in 1994, and an individual silver and team bronze, both from Sochi in 2014.

    In 2020, he received a Guinness World Records certificate for extending the record for the most individual starts in FIS Ski Jumping World Cup events to 569.

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