Shun Fujimoto


What I learned from Shun Fujimoto:


Montreal Olympics 1976

As Shun Fujimoto completed the floor exercise in the mens competition with a final tumbling run he felt a strange sensation in his right knee but continued anyway.

His kneecap was broken. He had shattered it early in the routine.

Shun was focused more on what his team needed than the discomfort he felt. The Japanese team were all intent on upsetting the heavily favored Soviet team and his performance would go a long way to determining the nations fate in the Olympics. It was for every member of the team a matter of honor to distinguish themselves against such a mighty opponent. The nation, indeed the world was watching them.
Shun decided to tell no one of the "twinge" he felt - not even his coach.

On the pommel horse he strode up purposefully, mounted and miraculously performed like a champion. He scored a remarkable 9.5 out of 10 to keep the team in contention. Honor was intact.

But then came the Rings. The final event of the day.

The rings that would require him hurling his body into the air in a twisting triple somersault dismount. His performance was poetic. Soaring from the rings eight feet in the crisp air and into the glaring lights he curled and climbed. Strength and beauty in perpetual motion driving toward the earth he spiked his shattered limb into the floor in perfect symmetry.

His dismount nailed into the ground, standing as tall as a flag post, strong and solid,with only the slightest shadow of movement.

The pain sliced through him like a knife. His eyes glistened with tears yet held the stoic thousand yard stare of a seasoned soldier. His teeth clenched tight and his arms raised high in the time honored salute to the crowd. The man stood tall and erect. The man Focused.

His score was the highest in his career, ever, a 9.7.

As Shun Fujimoto staggered away and collapsed in the arms of his coach the full extent of what he had done set in. His broken kneecap was shattered and the ligaments in his leg destroyed.

The doctor said "How he managed to do somersaults and twists and land without collapsing in screams is beyond my comprehension."

Shun Focused.

His teammates were inspired.

They needed a 9.5 to overtake the Soviets.

They scored a 9.9 and won the Gold.

Shun Fujimoto


That's what I learned from Shun.

Click here to watch his performance.

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