In 1998, Takashi Ono entered the gymnastics hall of fame. This exceptional athlete, through his longevity at elite level, marked the history of his sport and was a role model for a whole generation of Japanese gymnasts.
Three Japanese on the podium
In 1952 at the Olympic Games in Helsinki, Takashi Ono participated in his first Olympic competition. At the time, gymnastics was dominated by the Soviet team, led by Viktor Chukarin, a four-time gold medallist and double silver medallist at this same edition of the Games. Takashi Ono was a member of a Japanese team that included some promising young gymnasts. They were particularly prominent on the vault, which was won by Chukarin with a score of 19.20. Takashi Ono obtained a combined score of 19.1, coming joint third with his compatriot Tadao Uesako, behind another team mate, Masao Takemoto (19.15). For Ono, this first medal was far from being the last.
Breaking soviet dominance
The Japanese team arrived in Melbourne for the 1956 Olympic Games encouraged by their success four years previously and with more experience. Alongside Boris Shakhlin’s USSR team, Japan was one of the world’s strongest gymnastics nations. At these Olympic Games in Melbourne, Takashi Ono, as a worthy representative of his country, won his first Olympic title on the horizontal bar. This gold medal was the first of a very large collection for Japan in this discipline. Takashi also won three silver medals and one bronze.
Six out of eight
The Japanese gymnast continued to work tirelessly to progress in his sport. In Rome for the 1960 Games, Takashi won six medals of the eight available in artistic gymnastics. He snatched the gold on the horizontal bar and the pommel horse, as well as in the team competition. This collective victory was a reward for such hard work, and the start of a series of successes for the team from the “land of the rising sun”.
His 5th gold
Four years later, in front of his home crowd in Tokyo for the Games of the XVIII Olympiad, Takashi Ono, at the age of 33, was the oldest member of a brilliant Japanese team. He had the honour to pronounce the oath of the athletes during the opening ceremony. With his young partners, he again won the team title. This medal was Ono’s 13th Olympic medal, and his fifth gold.