February 08, 2014

Yoko Kondo, Japan Return To Women's Olympic Hockey

This is Yoko Kondo. She's a defender with the Seibu Princess Rabbits of the Japan Women's Ice Hockey League.

And as Japan's women's national team team returns to the Olympics in 2014 for the first time since the country hosted the 1998 Games, Kondo is the only member of the Japanese team with Olympic hockey experience.

Oh, and she's switched to forward for Sochi.

Kondo started playing at the age of six, mostly because her older brother played. The office worker has also competed in four top-level women's world hockey championships between 2001 and 2013.

The veteran has seen women's hockey grow in Japan.

“We weren’t at a level capable of winning against foreign teams [at the Nagano Games]. We didn’t have a clear goal, either,” Kondo said in a brief interview with The Japan News.
“It’s totally different now. Now we have a clear strategy to win a medal.”
One of the strategies is to move the experienced Kondo to forward where she can use her size and savvy hopefully to score a few goals. The experiment only started in December so Kondo says she "feels like a rookie again."

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