The Japanese media are focused on swimming. With good reason, too. After all, Kosuke Kitajima did take gold in the 100m and 200m breaststroke at the 2004 Athens Olympics, so swimming prominence is nothing new to the media.
According to this article by Karen Crouse in The International Herald Tribune, however, the Japanese media are intently watching American swimmer Brendan Hansen. Not Michael Phelps, the U.S. Olympic icon who is trying to break Mark Spitz‘s record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics, but Brendan Hansen. Who’s Brendan Hansen, you ask? Well, Hansen sports the Speedo LZR Racer – the same suit that the Mizuno-sponsored Kitajima wore earlier in June when he broke Hansen’s world record in the 200m breaststroke. The two share a rivalry that dates back to 2004 when Hansen entered the Athens Games on the heels of breaking two of Kitajima’s world records. Kitajima, however, had the last laugh and took home gold in the aforementioned 100m and 200m breaststroke. Oh, and that swimsuit? In case you missed the Herald’s previous post here, Japanese swimmers look like they are going to be able to choose whatever suit they want to compete in during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Sounds like a good old-fashioned rivalry just got a litter hotter – or is it wetter? Either way, the Olympics just got a little bit more interesting.