Japanese athletes brought home a record number of medals from the 2012 London Olympics–a haul that included the country’s 400th medal since Antwerp in 1920. For related content, see "Capitalizing on Japan’s Success at the London Olympics."
At the 2012 London Olympics held in July and August, Japan’s athletes won 38 medals (7 gold, 14 silver, and 17 bronze) in 13 different events. This surpassed the country’s previous best performance at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when Japan took 37 medals in 10 events.
This was also the 100th anniversary of Japan’s first appearance in the Olympics, at the 1912 games in Stockholm. Yonemitsu Tatsuhiro’s gold in the men’s wrestling (66 kg freestyle) was Japan’s 400th medal—nearly a century after the very first (a silver) for men’s tennis in the 1920 Antwerp games. The 2012 Olympics marked a major milestone for Japan’s athletes.
One impressive aspect of Japan’s successes this time around was that many of its best results came in events outside the country’s traditional strengths. Many have attributed this success to the Ajinomoto National Training Center in Kita Ward, Tokyo, which has been available since 2008.
Tokyo is currently campaigning to host the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020. Organizers hope that the excitement of this year’s success will provide these efforts with a boost of momentum.
Japan’s Results at the London 2012 Olympics
The Gold Medalists
Murata Ryōta: Boxing, Men’s Middle (75 kg)
Uchimura Kōhei: Gymnastics–Artistic, Men’s Individual All-Around
Obara Hitomi: Wrestling, Women’s 48 kg Freestyle
Ichō Kaori: Wrestling, Women’s 63 kg Freestyle (Third Consecutive Gold)
Yoshida Saori: Wrestling, Women’s 55 kg Freestyle (Third Consecutive Gold)
Yonemitsu Tatsuhiro: Wrestling, Men’s 66 kg Freestyle
Matsumoto Kaori: Jūdō, Women’s 57 kg
Results from Previous Summer Olympics
|1932||Los Angeles||7||7||4||18||Athletics, Swimming, Equestrian|
|1948||London||Japan did not participate|
|1952||Helsinki||1||6||2||9||Wrestling, Swimming, Gymnastics|
|1956||Melbourne||4||10||5||19||Swimming, Gymnastics, Wrestling|
|1960||Rome||4||7||7||18||Gymnastics, Swimming, Wrestling, Shooting|
|1964||Tokyo||16||5||8||29||Boxing, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Wrestling, Weightlifting, Jūdō, Athletics, Swimming, Shooting|
|1968||Mexico City||11||7||7||25||Gymnastics, Wrestling, Weightlifting, Athletics, Volleyball, Football, Boxing|
|1972||Munich||13||8||8||29||Swimming, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Wrestling, Jūdō|
|1976||Montreal||9||6||10||25||Volleyball, Gymnastics, Wrestling, Jūdō, Archery, Weightlifting|
|1980||Moscow||Japan did not participate|
|1984||Los Angeles||10||8||14||32||Gymnastics, Wrestling, Jūdō, Shooting, Swimming, Volleyball, Weightlifting, Cycling, Archery|
|1988||Seoul||4||3||7||14||Swimming, Wrestling, Jūdō, Shooting, Gymnastics|
|1992||Barcelona||3||8||11||22||Swimming, Jūdō, Athletics, Gymnastics, Shooting, Wrestling, Baseball|
|1996||Atlanta||3||6||5||14||Jūdō, Sailing, Baseball, Athletics, Wrestling, Cycling|
|2000||Sydney||5||8||5||18||Athletics, Jūdō, Swimming, Wrestling, Softball, Taekwondo|
|2004||Athens||16||9||12||37||Athletics, Swimming, Gymnastics, Wrestling, Jūdō, Sailing, Softball, Baseball|
|2008||Beijing||9||6||10||25||Swimming, Wrestling, Jūdō, Softball, Gymnastics, Fencing, Athletics, Cycling|
|2016||Rio de Janeiro|