Koji Murofushi, sports director for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, speaks about his appointment as Japan Sports Agency Commissioner on Sept 11, 2020, in Tokyo. Photo: AP/Eugene Hoshiko
tokyo 2020 olympics

Former Tokyo 2020 sports director Murofushi being treated for brain lymphoma

12 Comments

Koji Murofushi, an Olympic gold medalist who until September 2020 was sports director for the Tokyo 2020 Games, is undergoing treatment for brain lymphoma, a rare type of cancer, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Murofushi, 46 and a former hammer thrower, was diagnosed with the illness after developing symptoms last year and has already undergone surgery and steroid treatment, the Daily Shincho reported. He is set to undergo a transplant of his own stem cells later this month.

"Because this report concerns a personal matter, I'd like to refrain from commenting," Murofushi said in a statement issued by the Sports Agency. "I've made efforts so my work hasn't been affected up to now, and will work together with everybody concerned to hold the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics successfully."

Murofushi, who won a gold medal in the hammer throw at the 2004 Athens Olympics and a bronze medal at London in 2012, was sports director for the Tokyo 2020 Games, postponed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, until being named Commissioner of the Japan Sports Agency in September.

Recent photos on his social media have shown him meeting people in his office and posing as if to throw a javelin.

Murofushi comes from a sports-oriented family. His father was an Olympics hammer thrower and his Romanian mother competed internationally in javelin, while his sister also is a retired hammer thrower.

The goateed, soft-spoken Murofushi is a popular figure in Japanese sports, and reports of his illness were trending on Twitter, with many users in shock.

"Please, don't worry about work. Just take care of yourself," one wrote.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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Very sad news. Along with Kitajima Kosuke, Murofushi is one of Japan's olympic GOATs. I always loved watching him compete.

All the best in your fight, Murofushi-san.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Yes, he is a class act. Wish him all the best

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Such a champion! This is truly awful news. Much love and best wishes to him in his battle!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Ah man, this is awful. Get well soon Murofushi.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Such a champion! This is truly awful news. Much love and best wishes to him in his battle!

Fully agree.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A great athlete and a great person. I often point to him as a model to my (haafu) kids.

Get well soon!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"Former Tokyo 2020 sports director Murofushi being treated for brain lymphoma"

I hope he beats this! If anyone can, it's him.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

As a man and as an athlete, an example to all. I wish him all the best and a quick return to health.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I had to look it up. It's pretty rare. The web says with early treatment there's a 70% chance of survivability beyond five years. He'll need strength, will to live and luck to make it. I have followed his career from the get-go and know him to be one of the good guys. I wish him well.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Please, don't worry about work. Just take care of yourself," one wrote.

This is extremely important, surgery and steroid treatment puts him completely into the high risk group of people for COVID-19, at this point he should prioritize his own health and stop working and specially meeting with people.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Murofushi is one of those all round total athletes. Disciplined both in and out of the sports world. With all due respect, I wish him God speed recovery.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Now, we understand why he left his position.

Defeat the devil !

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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