Koide became coach at Recruit through a teacher. Saying, „The age of our women is coming,“ he foresaw the rise of Japanese women’s marathoning and actively made his dream of producing an Olympic gold medalist come true. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics where Takahashi won gold he produced a precise, aggressive winning strategy that seemed to go against character.
According to the Sept. 25, 2000 issue of Daily Sports covering Takahashi’s gold, Takahashi’s move came at 35 km near the apartment she had been at near the 32 km point on a section of road she had been running every day.
Meeting with Takahashi the day before the race Koide confirmed the plan for the attack, telling her, „If there are three of you at 30 km then you’ve got it. Go for it between 32 and 37 km.“ Doing exactly that, just before 35 km Takahashi threw off her sunglasses and surged. Just as Koide had envisioned, Takahashi ran alone from there to the finish, breaking the finish tape to achieve the gold medal.
While training at altitude before Sydney Koide had Takahashi going as high as 3500 m where nothing grew. People around them called it reckless and said she would only get altitude sickness, but Koide did not listen. Sticking to his convictions he said, „To get the job done you can’t be afraid to take risks.“
After she won the Olympic gold Koide commented, „Takahashi loves to run. I love it too. Two people who love running met each other, and the god of the marathon smiled upon us. The picture in the paper that day in 2000 shows the two of them side by side, Koide with his trademark beard hastily shaved off and Takahashi beaming widely.
translated by Brett Larner
Brett Larner – Japan Running News