Gymnastics Is All In The Family

4:15 AM

(From left to right: Yusuke, Rie and Kazuhito praying for success on Monday at a Shinto Shrine. Image courtesy of Reuters.)

A fantastic article from The Taipei Times on the Tanaka siblings. Absolutely love these gymnasts and very talented individuals indeed! Check out the full article here but here are the parts pertaining to the Tanaka family.

“When it comes to competing, of course I don’t want to lose to the younger two,” said Kazuhito Tanaka, 27, referring to his sister, Rie, and brother, Yusuke.
“I’d lose my standing as the big brother,” he said after a training session ahead of the trip to London, where all three siblings will make their Olympics debut.
It is rare for two siblings to become top-tier athletes, three is even rarer.
For the Tanakas, whose parents were also gymnasts and their father a coach, a common dream and strong work ethic runs in the family, 25-year-old Rie told reporters at a separate practice session.
“The bond we have through hard work is really strong. And since we were little, we all wanted to go to the Olympics,” said Rie, captain of the Japanese women’s team.
Kazuhito was the first to follow in their parents’ footsteps and take up the sport as a child. Rie became interested after watching her big brother train, while Yusuke, 22, started because he did not want to be home alone and bored.
Despite being such a family of gymnasts, their father went to surprising lengths to keep the sport from becoming too much of a focus in their home life, easing the pressure and helping them learn to appreciate gymnastics on their own.
“Our dad even made a rule that we couldn’t talk about gymnastics at home,” said Rie, who won her first national title in April.
Kazuhito, also a captain, will lead the men in their quest to recapture the team gold, which they won in Athens in 2004 before taking silver in 2008 in Beijing.
He said he took heart from having his brother on the same team, but he puts his focus squarely on the squad once they hit the gymnasium, with everyone on an equal footing.
“I try to think of Yusuke more as a teammate than a brother, and I feel a sense of encouragement no matter who my teammate is,” he said.

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