Kazuhiro Kokubo

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Kazuhiro Kokubo
Kazuhiro Kokubo 2011 CROP.jpg
Personal information
Full name Kazuhiro Kokubo
Nickname(s) Kazu
Born (1988-08-16) August 16, 1988 (age 26)
Ishikari, Hokkaido, Japan
Residence Hokkaido, Japan
California, U.S.
Sport
Country Japan
Sport Snowboarding
Kazuhiro Kokubo
Medal record
Men's snowboarding
Competitor for  Japan
US OPEN
Gold 2011 Stratton Halfpipe
US OPEN
Gold 2010 Stratton Halfpipe
Winter X Games
Bronze 2010 Aspen SuperPipe
WinterUniversiade
Gold 2009 Harbin Halfpipe
Gold 2009 Harbin BigAir
NZ OPEN
Gold 2009 Snow Park Halfpipe
FIS Snowboarding World Championships
Silver 2007 Arosa Halfpipe
Asian Games
Gold 2007 Changchun Halfpipe
World Cup
Bronze 2005 Tandådalen Halfpipe[1]

Kazuhiro Kokubo (國母 和宏 Kokubo Kazuhiro?, born August 16, 1988) is a Japanese snowboarder who has won multiple medals in international events, including consecutive golds in US Open Halfpipe in 2010[2] and 2011.[3] He competed at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics,[3] representing Japan.

Career[edit]

Kokubo passed the pro test as early as at the age of 11. He won multiple medals in international halfpipe and bigair events, including the silver in US Open Halfpipe at the age of 14. He represented Japan in Turin Olympics and Vancouver Olympics, and had consecutive wins in US Open Halfpipe in 2010 and 2011.[4] He mostly stays in the US in snowboarding seasons for competitions and video shooting sessions[4] while mentoring and coaching aspiring young snowboarders including Ayumu Hirano, the 15 year-old silver medalist of 2014 winter Olympics from his home country, Japan.[5] He is assigned as the official technical coach to the Japanese national snowboarding team since August 2013.

Style[edit]

His Halfpipe boarding style is often described as clean and stylish with unique combination of tricks.

Influence[edit]

Kokubo is known to be the mentor to Ayumu Hirano, a Japanese silver medalist in Halfpipe at 2014 Winter Olympics, since 2011.[5] He was officially assigned as the technical coach to the Japanese snowboarding team for Sochi Winter Olympics, leading Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka to the Silver and Bronze medals respectively.

Victory devoted to earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan[edit]

Kokubo won his second US OPEN gold at the age of 22 in March 2011, right after his homecountry Japan was hit by a massive earthquake and following Tsunami. In his winning interview, he confessed how he was saddened by the incident, and hoped for good for his fellow country men : "I talked to my family and everybody is okay, but I have some friends I still haven't been able to contact." "I hope my win brings a little joy and happiness to Japan." In the following April, he released a press note from JEARS (Support Japan Earthquake Rescue and Support) where he announced an offer of support to his country. He stated, “I was speechless, and for the first time since I was a kid, I sat and cried as we watched the news reports.” “I knew immediately that I wanted to help my country and like so many people, I didn’t know how. My main focus was not on winning or the competition itself at that point, but just getting the day over with and being with my wife who was flying to California from Japan.”[6]

Controversy[edit]

Kokubo was criticized for his style of dress in February 9, 2010 after he was seen at the Narita International Airport wearing his Olympic team uniform with his shirt untucked, his trousers hanging low, and his tie loosened. Next day, when asked by the press, Kokubo said he was sorry about his dress, but the microphone caught Kokubo murmuring in a low voice "shut up". Subsequently, he was barred from the Olympic opening ceremony.[7] This caused a controversy in Japan regarding whether an Olympian should represent the country not only in his/her athletic effort but also in cultural contexts.

References[edit]

External links[edit]