Like compatriot Noriaki Kasai, Takanobu Okabe’s career as a top-level competitor has stretched across a quarter of a century though, unlike Kasai, his career has been affected by slumps in form which has restricted his Olympic appearances to just three. Okabe made fleeting appearances in the World Cup series between 1989 and 1991 but it was not until after the Albertville Olympics that he became a regular on the circuit. He announced his arrival as a world class talent with a string of top 10 finishes in World Cup events which gained him selection for the 1994 Winter Games. Okabe narrowly failed to win an individual medal in Lillehammer but appeared a sure-fire winner in the team event until a disastrous final jump by Masahiko Harada dropped the Japanese team out of the gold medal position. Four years later the team made amends by sealing the team title on home snow in Nagano with Oakabe leading the team from his position as first to jump in each round. Between Olympics he had posted an impressive set of results at the World Championships, winning individual gold in 1995 and silver in 1997 as well as a bronze in team event in 1995. Injury and a loss of form haunted him at the start of 21st century but he rebounded to earn a place at the 2006 Winter Olympics and won a World Cup event in 2009, his first win for over a decade, at the venerable age of 38. Although he was not chosen for the Vancouver Games he remained as part of the national squad into 2013.