Naoko Takahashi is a Japanese marathon runner, born on 6th May 1972 in Gifu, Japan. She is most famous for her win at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney giving her a gold medal. Many of her fans have nicknames her ‘Q-Chan’.
Takahashi has totally taken over the previously more popular Arimori Yuko. Takahashi became the first Japanese track and field Olympic gold medallist in Sydney in 2000 and held the world record after breaking the 2:20 hours time marker at the Berlin Marathon of 2001. The record was broken again just a week later by Catherina Ndereba. Many people consider Takahashi as the best female marathon runner of all time.
Takahashi’s running career started in 1997 when she ran in the Osaka International Women’s Marathon race and came 7th with a time of 2:31:32, which would normally have been very good if it weren’t for the other equally great runners she was up against. Her next feat was the Nagoya International Women’s Marathon when she came in at 1st place on an amazing time of 2:25:48, breaking the Japanese record at the time.
In 1998 she ran in the Bangkok Asian Games and won the gold medal for finishing first in 2:21:47. This was her first huge achievement and made her hungry for more success.
At the turn of the century we saw Takahashi run at the Nagoya International Women’s Marathon again where she came 1st once again, but did improve her time to 2:22:19. Just 6 months later she was competing in the Sydney Olympics which we touched on earlier. She won the gold medal and broke the Olympics record which she still holds to this day.
She reportedly revealed that hornet juice was the secret to her success that year, hornet juice being made from the stomach juices of the giant killer hornets. She apparently drank the hornet juice during her training sessions after she discovered that scientists had found the juice to have amazing powers to boost the stamina of humans. Whatever it was that gave her that special something to win was amazing.
In 2001 we saw Takahashi run the OHME Marathon over 30 kilometres and finished in a time of 1:41:57, breaking the Japanese record at that time (although she no longer holds this record). The Berlin Marathon was in 2001 as we mentioned where she came first and took the World Record at the time, which was later taken from her. She ran the Berlin Marathon again the following year and defended her 1st place title finishing in 2:21:49.
Later she ran the Tokyo International Women’s Marathon. The first time was in 2003 when she finished in 2:27:21 giving her 2nd place, the second was in 2005 when she managed to take 1st place with a time of 2:24:39, and the final time was 2006 finishing in 3rd place with a time of 2:31:22. Her final notable appearance was in the Nagoya Marathon of 2008 when she came a rather embarrassing 27th place running it in 2:44:18.
- 2000 Sydney Olympic Games – Gold