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Universiade silver medalist
"I'm quite good" in grand settings

Mr. Lenthing Akira

Lenthing started cross-country skiing during physical exercise class in elementary school. "I wasn't very serious about it at first, but as I won the prefecture and national championships, I became motivated and have come this far. I might not have skied up to now if my father hadn't come to live in Nagano in the first place." His father is a New Zealand-born copywriter. When Lenthing was three, his father happened to visit Nagano on a trip just before going back to New Zealand, saw snow and intuitively decided to live in Nagano. It was as if he knew that his son would be prominent in skiing.

The key to cross-country skiing is daily steady training

Cross-country skiing is a competition racing across snow-covered fields and mountains on skis. It is not as showy as jumping or slalom, but offers joy like a marathon. "As it is a stamina-based sport, it is suitable for people who make continuous efforts. That's probably why the sport suits me. The sense of achievement when I reach the goal is just great." Lenthing appears to be very dexterous, and to be able to do anything without toil. He doesn't seem to be a guy of steady efforts. "To everyone's surprise, I definitely do training everyday. Steadily (laughing)."

Lenthing is living in the dormitory of the WASEDA Univ. Skiing Team in Tokorozawa. He entered university because of a senior who was his role model in high school, thinking WASEDA would be the best place for skiing. However, once he joined the Skiing Team, he found the dormitory was small and that seniors whom he thought would devote themselves to skiing with a high level of awareness appeared more ordinary than he had anticipated. "At first, I was too eager, thinking I would be different, but soon, I realized that they were superb both technically and mentally. I've become motivated as we now have competitive juniors, and the Sochi Olympic Games in 2014 is my concrete target now."

For all that, having his way is his personality. "In grand settings such as international championships, I feel excited and get good results, but in small domestic competitions, I sometimes lose. I'm good at one-game matches," he laughs apologetically. Are you a man of spirit? "To be honest, when I lose, I reflect on the reasons why and cry."

Since entering university, he has met many people and his perspectives have drastically widened. He has developed a wider range of interest in many things other than skiing, and now walks around town between training hours. He visits museums and goes to the suburbs, showing up in many different places. "When I find a good bench on the roof of a department store, I feel very happy, thinking it a great discovery." He seems to enjoy time alone. As he has a social personality, he has many friends. In addition to regular training, he is busy with serving as a staff member of an outdoor cafe terrace and hosting parties. "As I'm the type of person who acts on sensitivity, I get good stimuli through talking with people." You don't have time to get a girl friend, do you? "That's not good! I will do my best though (laughing)."

Lenthing's hunger for knowledge is affected by the presence of Professor Takeo Hirata who instructs him. After joining a seminar, his studies have got more enjoyable. "Professor Hirata has achieved great results in the field of sport business. As he always asks, 'What do you think?' I consciously think about having my own opinions. Learning under him, I want to make cross-country skiing more popular. Of course, if I get top results as a player, we can attract more attention."

He has also changed internally from what he was in high school where he thought only about his ski performance. "Having met many people, I have become able to accept different values and became more mature. As WASEDA has many great professors, I want to learn lots of things and become a strong skier!" He is really a top athlete. He gives us his great final words. "Please write a cool article about me." Without showing a spirit of sports, he concludes the interview on a light note.

The Skiing Team has a homely atmosphere. Members sometimes get together to watch sports

Toward the Sochi Olympic Games, with rising expectations

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Lenthing Akira

Born in Tokyo in 1990 and grew up in Nagano. Graduated from Iiyamakita High School. 3rd year, School of Sport Sciences. Started cross-country skiing during a physical exercise class in elementary school. He won a prize in a prefecture championship when he was a sixth grader, and he became prominent. In 2011, at the Olympics for students, Universiade, got a silver medal. His interests include traveling, photography, and reading. His challenge other than skiing: "Though I'm half Japanese and half New Zealand, I'm not that good at English, so I am studying (laughing). I must also practice my signature to use when I win a big game. Right now, I imitate other players." To know more about his friendly personality, visit his blog and follow his twitter account.
Twitter @LENnf7
*Lenthing also appears in "Shinsho," WASEDA WEEKLY (Extra Edition), too!