I love the relationship between player and coach.
Growing up, I always considered it a joy watching Coach K take freshmen at Duke and turn them into NBA-ready players. When it comes to the gridiron, there are few things more enjoyable than seeing a couple offensive linemen douse their beloved coach with a Gatorade bath.
At the Rio Olympics, however, I noticed a new type of embrace—one that left me awestruck (and, frankly, a little startled). Check out how Risako Kawai greeted her coach after securing the gold medal in the 63kg freestyle, winning the gold for Japan:
After watching Kawai flip her coach, it’s pretty clear why she took home the gold. Look at that technique!
It’s clear Coach was going in for a hug, but gold medalist Kawai had other plans (and apparently some leftover adrenaline). Bravo to the coach, though—he takes this pummeling like a champ.
When Kawai finished tossing him around the mat like a rag doll, she placed him on her shoulders, from which perch he triumphantly waved the Japanese flag, and the two waltzed around the mat for a victory lap. What a scene.
I will say, if they’re going to keep doing this type of celebration in the future, they should definitely get the entire coaching staff equipped with some protective equipment; at the very least, a soft helmet and some knee/elbow pads. I can’t imagine that flip felt necessarily good for the coach, but who knows —it’s for this very reason that I don’t wrestle.
Anyways, congrats Risako Kawai!