Hirano Kaishu Q&A: Inspired by brother Ayumu’s success
Hirano Kaishu took silver in snowboarding's halfpipe event at the Youth Olympics and is aiming for Olympic gold at Beijing 2022.
Snowboarding runs in the Hirano family, with brothers Ayumu and Kaishu both taking silverware home from their respective Olympic appearances. Japan will be hoping that one of the siblings can make the jump to gold at Beijing 2022.
The Japanese pair have three silver medals between them. Ayumu finished second in halfpipe at the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Games. Kaishu was runner-up at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne back in 2020.
“My brother will be proud,” said Kaishu in Switzerland after securing his YOG silver medal. “I respect him so much and he inspires. I want to be like him.”
In 2022, they are expected to be amongst the leading contenders when the Olympic men’s halfpipe final takes place on 11 February.
Olympics.com caught up with Kaishu to discuss his goals for the Games and his relationship with his brother.
Snowboarding: Hirano Kaishu interview
Olympics.com: How is your current physical condition?
Hirano Kaishu: Everything is fine. I’m feeling good.
O: Do you find snowboarding tougher physically or mentally?
HK: For training or the event, I have to focus on taking care of my feet and my physical condition.
O: At what age did you start snowboarding?
HK: At the age of 12, I began snowboarding. I used to go skateboarding on the weekend or after school. It was the same with snowboarding.
O: Who was your idol growing up?
HK: I respected my brother for his dedication to training. I liked [American snowboarder] Danny Davis in the halfpipe. He was different than the Japanese snowboarders in style.
O: What Japanese athletes in other sports did you admire?
HK: I liked the baseball player Suzuki Ichiro. My brother used to talk about him and his character and ability.
Hirano Kaishu on influence of brother Ayumu
O: Do you feel pressure as the younger brother, after all of Ayumu’s success?
HK: I don’t feel any pressure from this fact.
O: Did you become a snowboarder because of your brother?
HK: I was influenced by my brother. After his medal at the Sochi Olympics, I wanted to become a snowboarder.
O: Does your brother give you advice and encourage you?
HK: When we do our training, we are focusing on ourselves, so we don’t communicate. After we go home, we may talk about snowboarding as part of our conversation. If I ask him for his opinion, I can see a different side of myself with his comments.
O: What are your memories of the Winter YOG Lausanne 2020?
HK: Getting the medal at the Youth Olympic Games is the best memory for me. It was an impact for me to meet people from other countries. At the same time, the Japanese riders had a higher level of skill.
O: Are the YOG beneficial for preparing for the Olympic Winter Games?
HK: Yes, it is. I was confident I would get a medal at the Youth Olympics.
O: What is your goal for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022?
HK: I want to win the gold medal. I also want to impress the audience with my performance.