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45-year-old Japanese ski jumper vows return at 2022 Winter Olympics

Noriaki Kasai isn’t hanging up his skis just yet.

The 45-year-old ski jumping legend just wrapped up a sixth-place team finish for Japan in PyeongChang, South Korea, marking a record eighth straight Winter Olympic games.

That sixth-place finish, though, isn’t good enough for the three-time Olympic medalist. Kasai has vowed to return to the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, and is determined to win another medal.

“I’m not going to try, I will definitely be there,” Kasai said. “I watched the others win medals and it fired me up. I can still keep going. I am by no means finished.”

Kasai won his first Olympic medal in 1994 at Lillehammer, where he helped Japan win silver in the team event. Kasai then won a silver medal in the large hill and bronze medal in the team event 20 years later in Sochi at 41 years old.

Noriaki Kasai of Japan competes during the men’s team large hill ski jump on Feb. 19, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. Kasai is 45-years-old, and determined to reach his ninth-straight Olympics in 2022. (Getty)

Failing to win a medal in PyeongChang seems to have motivated Kasai to make a run at what would be his ninth straight Olympic appearance. If he does, in fact, compete in Beijing in 2022, Kasai will be 49 years old.

“I want to work on my jumps the next four years and perfect them,” Kasai said. “If I can bring myself to peak form then I can medal as an individual, help the team medal.

“I’m thrilled to have competed for the eighth time, but equally annoyed that I couldn’t win a medal. I only showed half of what I can do here. The other half, I’ll show in four years’ time.”

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