“I treasure this experience dearly…”

Today we begin a year-long celebration of “the moment” — a revisiting of the remarks made by our Honorees upon their induction into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

There is much to learn from and hold dear in these speeches. Among them is the discovery, time and again, that within the hearts of these champions there is a grace of thought and emotion that matches their artistic and athletic brilliance.

We begin the series with the acceptance speech of one of Japan’s greatest gymnastics legends, Mr. Takashi Ono, delivered June 26, 1998, during the Induction Ceremony for the Class of 1998, in Oklahoma City, OK, USA.

(This translation was delivered by charter member of the IGHOF Board of Directors, the late Mr. Frank Endo):

“Good evening, Ladies & Gentlemen,

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to Mr. Frank Bare and the Board members of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame for giving me this great honor.

“Since the 1952 Helsinki Olympics thru the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, for a period of 12 years, I was able to participate in 4 Olympics and 3 World Championships. During this period, I have met many wonderful people. I treasure this experience dearly.

“I would like to deepen my friendship and help contribute further for gymnastics. Gymnastics is a great sport that expresses beauty of movement, power and elegance, attracting people all over the world. Through gymnastics, I pray sincerely for world peace and happiness.

“I would like to thank Mr. Frank Endo who has helped the development of gymnastics in Japan and my induction into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame. In conclusion, I wish the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame great success.

“Thank you.”

Additional remarks by Mr. Frank Endo immediately followed:

“I would like to add that I was invited to the pre-induction party for Mr. Takashi Ono in Tokyo on June 2nd. More than 300 people attended, paying $75.00 per person. This was a 2-hour standing buffet.

“I represented the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame and spoke about our organization. The Japanese consider the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame award as the ‘Nobel Prize for Gymnastics.’

“Mrs. Ono could not make the trip to Oklahoma City, as she is running for re-election for the Japanese Senate for the 3rd time. If elected, she will become a Minister in the new government. She was also a gymnast and participated in two Olympic Games.”

All of us associated with the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame remain eternally grateful to Frank Endo for both the lifetime of service he committed to the sport, and the grace with which represented the Hall — especially within the Japanese gymnastics community.

In the months ahead, we will continue to celebrate our inductees through their own words, as we bring you highlights from their acceptance speeches and remarks during the week-long Induction Ceremonies experience.

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