Volleyball was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1964 Tokyo games. A Japanese women’s team was chosen to represent their nation for the event. Hirofumi Daimatsu, their coach, put the women through a grueling training program that resembled a Marine boot camp. The six day a week training program was quite brutal on the women both physically and mentally. Daimatsu, in fact, was trying to utterly break the women. He promised them two things: those who could not survive would be released from the team, but those who did would win the Olympic gold medal.
The training, however, did pay off and they eventually did win the gold. When they stood to receive their medals every woman was crying.
“It was a glorious moment,” said team captain Masae Kasai. “We all cried for two reasons. We had won the gold medal and had fulfilled our expectations and that of the Japanese people. Even more, we cried because this would be our last game together, and even though we had been through so much pain and anguish it was worth it. I’m sure we would all do it again.”
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