Kasumi Takahashi won 5 individual gold medals in rhythmic gymnastics at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria – all 4 apparatus and the individual all-round. In doing so, she became Australia’s most prolific gold medallist at a single Commonwealth Games. A stress fracture prevented her from competing at the Olympics in 1996, but she now has eyes upon the 1998 Commonwealth Games and the 2000 Olympics in her home country.
She is 175 cm tall.
Remember when you were 14? For some of us, that’s quite a challenge, but for Japanese Australian gymnast Kasumi Takahashi, it’s no problem at all. As she grows older, she will look back upon her 14th year as the time she won five gold and one silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, an all-time Australian record.
This lithesome young woman, who stands 5-feet-8, already has the gymnastics establishment spinning on its heels. Following her performance at the recent Academy Awards, in which she did her solo hoop routine, she probably has a billion or so other people spinning too.
Born in Japan to a Japanese father and an Australian mother, Kasumi has spent just a year living in Australia, but fiercely claims an Australian identity.
“My mom’s Australian, and I carry an Australian passport. I always regard Australia as home. I’ve lived in America, but I love Australia. I just feel Australian,” she says.
Kasumi took up gymnastics when she moved to the United States seven years ago. She started with artistic gymnastics, then switched to rhythmic. Whereas artistic is heavily acrobatic, rhythmic involves more dancing and music. Encouraged by her ballerina mother, Kasumi has also taken up ballot, which is a helpful reinforcement for rhythmic gymnastics.
Why rhythmic gymnastics? “I like to express my feelings and emotions, and I love to dance, especially with music. And I enjoy incorporating a story into all my routines,” she says.
For the last two years, Kasumi has worked under the watchful eye of coach Olga Morozova. While Morozova runs her own academy, Kasumi trains privately with her for about 20 hours a week. The hardest part about training, according to Kasumi, is practicing her routines over and over, every single day. “It’s the only way to get good,” she maintains.
But “good” hardly describes this young lady who admits to having no role models. “My goal isn’t to be like somebody else. I want to be perfect. Better than the best.”
Such single-minded devotion to excellence is a rare quality in any person, let alone a 14-year-old. But fearful that people may think this is her only quality, Kasumi hastens to add: “I worry about people a lot. I care for them. I may seem like a shy schoolgirl on the surface, but I’m not when you get to know me.”
Her ninth-grade friends at Marlborough, an all-girls school in Los Angeles, could attest to this. Somehow, in between her training and homework, Kasumi manages to find time for her friends, although she admits they have to accommodate to her busy schedule. What does she like doing to have fun? Why, go dancing, of course.
And the big one, the Sydney 2000 Olympics? Will she still be doing rhythmic gymnastics at 19? “Oh yes, because I love it so much,” she says. “Besides, Sydney is my home town. It will be wonderful!”
(Source: Australian Gymnastics Federation – Athlete Profiles)
Kasumi Takahashi – Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics
Country Of Origin: Tokyo, Japan
Club of Origin: Los Angeles School of Gymnastics
Original Coach: Alla Svirsky
Club: California Academy of Rhythmic Gymnastics Inc
Coach: Olga Morozova
Date Of Birth: 6th May, 1980
Aspirations: To compete for Australia in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta
Interests: Ballet (now trained by Alla Artiushkina A. Bolishoi Prima Ballerina)
Competition Results 1995 World Championships – VIENNA, AUSTRIA
All-Around (AA): 26.600 47th/97
1995 CORBEIL-ESSONNES – PARIS
All-Around (AA): 36.150 =46th/104
1995 Senior 4 Continent Championships – EGYPT
Team: 69.300 5th/11
All-Around (AA): 36.200 1st/20 (Gold Medal)
Finals: Rope 9.000 =2nd (Silver Medal)
Ball 9.100 =1st (Gold Medal)
Clubs 9.150 2nd (Silver Medal)
Ribbon 9.225 1st (Gold Medal)
1994 COMMONWEALTH GAMES – CANADA
Team: 105.300 2nd/7 (Silver Medal)
All-Around (AA): 36.850 1st/16 (Gold Medal)
Finals: Hoop 9.300 1st (Gold Medal)
Ball 9.200 1st (Gold Medal)
Clubs 9.400 1st (Gold Medal)
Ribbon 9.200 1st (Gold Medal)
1994 Junior 4 Continents Championships – KOREA
All-Around (AA): 35.150 1st/41 (Gold Medal)
Finals: Rope 8.950 1st (Gold Medal)
Ball 8.800 1st (Gold Medal)
Clubs 8.900 1st (Gold Medal)
Ribbon 8.600 1st (Gold Medal)
1994 CORBEIL-ESSONNES Competition – PARIS
All-Around (AA): 35.325 31st/81