New film 'The Distance' on Olympic marathon champ Takahashi Naoko available to watch now

The latest Five Rings Films documentary "The Distance", featuring the Sydney 2000 gold medallist, launched by Olympic Channel, and available to stream on Olympics.com

By ZK Goh
Picture by Bongarts

It's the story of an enduring Japanese running tradition. The humble Olympic champion Takahashi Naoko captured her nation’s imagination with a run for the ages at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000.

Takahashi, who had won the women's marathon at the 1998 Asian Games, went into the Sydney marathon as the top Asian contender. However, she surprised many by beating out more established names, such as then-world-record-holder Tegla Loroupe, to win gold.

In a new documentary, titled The Distance, Takahashi's journey to Olympic gold, helped by her coach Koide Yoshio, is profiled.

The film premiered on Olympic Channel on Friday, 16 July 2021, and is now available to watch online via Olympics.com here.

Takahashi, who went from marathon prospect to Olympic champion, could not have achieved what she did without coach Koide, who passed away in 2019.

She says in the film: "I knew I had to put a lot of effort in. I had to run further than anyone else.

"I wanted my life to have an impact. The most important thing was to ask myself: 'Have I done enough for today? Do I have any regrets today?'"

The film was directed by Japanese director Yamamoto Hyoe, and produced by Five Rings Films exclusively for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) global media platform by Frank Marshall and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM).

Marshall, whose credits include the Jason Bourne trilogy, Jurassic World, and the Indiana Jones franchise, serves as executive producer alongside Mike Tollin and Jon Weinbach.

For the Olympic Channel, Greg Groggel, Mark Parkman, Mary Byrne and Yiannis Exarchos are executive producers.

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