This is Part 4 of a series on Toyota Motor Corp.'s extensive involvement in sports.
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Toyota Motor Corp. skating club manager Satoru Terao knows what it takes to make it to the Olympic Games as an athlete, and now he wants to help others realize that dream.
Terao instructs local elementary school and junior high school children in addition to members of the automaker’s skating club. The children are serious about the lessons taught by their idol, who competed in short-track speedskating at four consecutive Olympic Games, starting with the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
“When I was a child, local adults taught me how to skate, so this is my way of giving back to the community,” Terao says, adding that he enjoys every minute of his time spent teaching kids.
Toyota Motor’s skating club includes 2011 world champion figure skater Miki Ando and 2011 World Championships silver-medalist Takahiko Kozuka. Those two high-profile skaters have their own coaches and training bases and train separately from the automaker’s skating club.
The short-track team that Terao is in charge of does not have its own dedicated rink, so the club splits the cost with the local skating federation and rents out a skating rink within Aichi Prefecture. In return, Terao instructs junior skaters.
Speedskater Ayuko Ito, who represented Japan in short track at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, also trained with Toyota Motor while she was in junior high school.
She chose to enroll in Hamamatsu Technical High School so she could catch up to Japan’s top skaters, and she eventually joined the Toyota Motor stable.
Short-track speedskating rarely catches people’s attention other than during the Olympics, so Ito concentrates on her training while working at the automaker.
“Toyota provides the best environment for me to train,” she says.
Ito is now aiming for an Olympic medal, something Terao was never able to get his hands on. The dream has been passed down from generation to generation.
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