Kazunori Takishima attends a hockey match at the 2012 Olympics in London. (Courtesy Kazunori Takishima)
Kazunori Takishima’s love for the Olympics started in 2005 when he saw a figure skating competition for the first time, and immediately, he bought tickets for the 2006 Torino Winter Olympics in Italy. He was hooked. Since then, he has been traveling the world to support Japan at every Olympic Games for the past 15 years. So it was a dream to see the event in his home city of Tokyo.
But when a ban on spectators was announced due to the Covid-19 situation in Japan, that dream was over.
He had spent nearly $40,000 on 197 tickets — for him and his friends — to cram in as many events as possible during Tokyo 2020.
“It took an unbelievable amount of time, effort, and passion,” Takishima told CNN. “But I was so passionate about the Olympics that even though it was very difficult and challenging, I enjoyed the process of buying the tickets.”
The 45-year-old real estate businessman worked out that if he watched all the events he had booked, he would have broken the Guinness World Record for attendance at Olympic events. He’ll now get a refund on the tickets he’s purchased.
“All I have now is sadness, and every time I look at the tickets, I cry,” Takishima said. “I’m just sad.”
Despite his disappointment, he says the experience won’t put him off being an Olympic superfan.
“I will continue to visit and support the Olympics until the day I die,” Takishima said. “While I’m still able to move, I plan to see all the Games from the opening to the closing (ceremonies). I can eventually beat the record.”
Read the full story here.
Tom Booth, Dan Hodge, and Arthur Syin contributed to reporting