July 21 (Reuters) – Surfing gold medal hopeful Carissa Moore delighted residents of a small surf town southwest of Tokyo on Wednesday when she gave a speech in Japanese thanking them for hosting the US team’s pre-Games training camp.
“We love Makinohara, the waves were a bit small, but the beach was beautiful and we had a lot of fun,” Moore said of the town about 200 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. “The hotel, the food, the beach and the waves were all wonderful, and the people of Makinohara kindly extended their hospitality to us. We are truly grateful.”
Moore, a four-time world champion who hopes to clinch gold when the sport makes its debut at the Tokyo Games, studied Japanese for several years in college and high school in Hawaii.
On Wednesday, she also gave Mayor Kikuo Sugimoto a gift of banana nut butter, made by her husband’s business in Hawaii, which uses locally grown bananas.
Several dozen community members cheered while waving American flags for the surf delegation. A banner on the front read “Makinohara will support you !! Do your best !!”
Surf events are scheduled to start on July 25.
Report by Nathan Frandino in Tokyo with translation by Andrew Bibee; Editing by Hugh Lawson
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