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Japanese mayor apologizes for biting Olympic medal

Japanese mayor apologizes for biting Olympic medal

A Japanese mayor offered an apology Thursday for chewing on the Olympic gold medal from a softball player who paid a courtesy visit after Japan beat the United States in the final at the Tokyo Games.

Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura had praised pitcher Miu Goto during the August 4 visit, but did not take his eyes off the athlete’s medal. At his request, the player placed the medal around his neck, but then Kawamura took off his mask and bit the medal.

“I really regret damaging the gold medalist’s treasure,” Kawamura told reporters on Thursday.

The mayor added that the medal was undamaged but still offered to pay the cost of a new one.

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However, Goto has accepted the International Olympic Committee’s offer to replace her, according to Japanese media.

The medal bite has become a tradition before the cameras at the Olympic Games, but by the athletes themselves, not by third parties.

The scene broadcast on television generated thousands of complaints to the City Council. Some Olympians reacted by saying that they take care of their medals as trophies and that it was offensive for Kawamura to bite one.

“I would have cried if it had happened to me,” tweeted Naohisa Takato, who won the gold medal for Japan in judo. “I take my own medal very carefully trying not to scratch it.”

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Yuki Ota, who won a silver medal in fencing, classified the mayor’s action as a lack of respect for athletes and a bad idea in the face of COVID-19 measures.

Goto reportedly considered keeping the original but ultimately accepted the IOC’s offer. (AP)

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