Japanese mayor's 'inappropriate' act with Olympian's gold medal

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·Sports Reporter
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Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura, left, is pictured biting the gold medal of softball player Miu Goto, right.
Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura infuriated officials and later made a public apology after biting the gold medal of Japanese softball star Miu Goto during a celebratory event to mark the team's Olympic victory. Pictures: Reuters/Getty Images

Tokyo Olympics officials were left irritated and puzzled after a Japanese mayor jokingly bit down on the gold medal of one of the nation's victorious softball players during a celebratory event.

In a bizarre moment which also left softball star Miu Goto looking confused, mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura, chomped on the medal after it was handed to him during an event to commemorate the team's gold-medal winning effort.

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Biting down on medals has been a commonplace act for years during the Olympics - but with the Games proceeding in 2021 amid a continuing global coronavirus pandemic, Kawamura's act was quickly rebuked.

Kawamura was forced to make a public apology after motor company Toyota, which sponsors Goto's domestic team Red Terriers, came out with a statement condemning his actions.

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Trending posts on Twitter said Kawamura had turned Goto's gold medal into a germ medal, which in Japanese is pronounced the same. 

Some called for Goto to get a replacement for the medal she won at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

"I forgot my position as Nagoya mayor and acted in an extremely inappropriate way," Kawamura said in a televised apology after Toyota released its statement.

"I am fully aware that I should reflect on that."

Making matters worse for the Nagoya mayor was the fact he performed the act in front of a press backdrop urging citizens to continue taking precautions to avoid contracting Covid-19, such as washing hands and maintaining social distancing.

Toyota, which has a heavy manufacturing and economic presence in Nagoya, was scathing of Kawamura's carelessness.

"It is unfortunate that he was unable to feel admiration and respect for the athlete," Toyota said in a statement on Thursday about Kawamura. 

"And it is extremely regrettable that he was unable to give consideration to infection prevention."

With agencies

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