Naoko Takahashi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Naoko Takahashi
Takahashi Naoko Nagoya Womens Marathon 2008.jpg
Naoko Takahashi at the 2008 Nagoya Women's International Marathon
Medal record
Women’s Athletics
Representing  Japan
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney Marathon
Asian Games
Gold medal – first place 1998 Bangkok Marathon

Naoko Takahashi (高橋 尚子, Takahashi Naoko, born May 6, 1972) is a retired Japanese long-distance runner and Olympic gold medal-winning marathoner. She won the gold medal in the marathon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and became the first woman to complete a marathon in under 2:20:00, which she accomplished in 2001.


Takahashi was born in Gifu, Gifu Prefecture on May 6, 1972, the eldest daughter of educator Yoshiaki Takahashi and his wife Shigeko.[1] Her father was a kindergarten principal.[2] She is a second cousin-niece of chemist and Nobel Prize laureate Hideki Shirakawa.[1]

Takahashi started running track in junior high school, and placed second in the 1500 meter and third in the 3000 meter races at the Japanese national collegiate championships while attending Osaka Gakuin University. Following graduation, she sought out the prominent distance running coach Yoshio Koide (coach) [ja] and began training under him.[3] She supplemented her training regimen in Japan with altitude training in Colorado.[4][5]

In March 1998,[6] running in her second marathon, Takahashi set a Japanese women's record of 2:25:48 at the Nagoya Women's Marathon.[3] Two months later, she won the 5000 meter race in the Osaka Japan Grand Prix.[7]

Later in December of that same year, Takahashi set a new Japanese women's marathon record when she won the Asian Games marathon in Bangkok with a time of 2:21:47 under very warm conditions.[3] She finished more than 13 minutes ahead of the second place finisher.[8]

In March 2000, Takahashi earned a spot on Japan's Olympic women's marathon team after winning the Nagoya Women's Marathon in a time of 2:22:19.[3] She went on to win the women's marathon at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, with an Olympic record time of 2:23:14. It remained the fastest women's Olympic marathon until 2012 in London. Following her gold medal victory, Takahashi received the 2000 AIMS Best Marathon Runner Award as well as Japan's People's Honour Award.

At the 2001 Berlin Marathon, Takahashi became the first woman to break the 2 hour 20 minute barrier, finishing in a world record time of 2:19:46 and more than eight minutes ahead of the second place finisher, the previous world record holder Tegla Loroupe.[9][10] The following year, Takahashi won the 2002 Berlin Marathon with a time of 2:21:49.[11]

During her running career, Takahashi suffered from a series of injuries. She announced her retirement in October 2008.[12]

The Gifu Seiryu Half Marathon was launched in 2011 with the honorary title being the Naoko Takahashi Cup. Takahashi serves as the chairwoman for the race.[13]

Since her retirement from competitive running, Takahashi has also worked as a sportscaster,[14] marathon commentator,[15] served as a Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) executive,[16] and served as an executive member of the Japan Association of Athletics Federations (JAAF).[15]

Takahashi is related to former Morning Musume leader Hitomi Yoshizawa.


Date Event Time Result
Jan. 1997 Osaka International Women's Marathon 2:31:32 7th place
Mar. 1998 Nagoya International Women's Marathon 2:25:48 1st place, Japanese record at the time
Dec. 1998 Bangkok Asian Games 2:21:47 Gold medal, Japanese record at the time
Mar. 2000 Nagoya International Women's Marathon 2:22:19 1st place
Sep. 2000 Sydney Olympics 2:23:14 Gold medal, Olympic record at the time
Feb. 2001 OHME Marathon (30 km) 1:41:57 Japanese record at the time
Sep. 2001 Berlin Marathon 2:19:46 1st place, World Record at the time, first woman to finish under 2:20
Sep. 2002 Berlin Marathon 2:21:49 1st
Nov. 2003 Tokyo International Women's Marathon 2:27:21 2nd
Nov. 2005 Tokyo International Women's Marathon 2:24:39 1st
Nov. 2006 Tokyo International Women's Marathon 2:31:22 3rd
Mar. 2008 Nagoya Marathon 2:44:18 27th


  1. ^ a b "コメントで振り返る高橋尚子のあゆみ - スポーツニュース". Nikkan Sports (in Japanese). 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  2. ^ "「人物ルポ 高橋尚子の父として 地域の教育者として」など|株式会社ジェイ・キャスト". J-Cast. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2022-05-08.
  3. ^ a b c d Nakamura, K. Ken (2000-09-11). "Naoko Takahashi: Olympic marathon favourite". World Athletics.
  4. ^ Sandrock, Mike (2016-07-31). "Boulder plays big role in Japanese runners' success".
  5. ^ Havens, Thomas R. H. (2015). Marathon Japan: Distance Racing and Civic Culture. University of Hawaii Press. p. 103. ISBN 9780824854133.
  6. ^ "Nagoya International Women's Marathon". Retrieved 2021-08-14.
  7. ^ "World Athletics: Naoko Takahashi". World Athletics. Retrieved 2021-08-14.
  8. ^ "13th Asian Games". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  9. ^ Longman, Jere (October 1, 2001), "Marathon: Takahashi Sets Women's Mark For Marathon", The New York Times
  10. ^ "2001 Berlin Marathon Results". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  11. ^ "2002 Berlin Marathon Results". Association of Road Racing Statisticians. Retrieved 2023-05-19.
  12. ^ "Sydney marathon champion Takahashi to retire". Agence France-Presse. 2008-10-28. Archived from the original on 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2008-10-28.
  13. ^ Race Outline Archived 2013-04-29 at the Wayback Machine. Gifu Marathon. Retrieved on 2013-05-20.
  14. ^ "Japan Holds "Arigato in London" at London County Hall". 2012-07-05.
  15. ^ a b "Japan's Marathon Women Can Still Aim for the Win – translated by Brett Larner – Japan Running News". 2014-08-13.
  16. ^ "Organizing Committee Naoko Takahashi and 12 other female directors appointed The ratio of female directors exceeds 40%". 2021-03-03.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Women's Marathon World Record Holder
September 30, 2001 – October 7, 2001
Succeeded by