Miho Takeda, who shares with her synchro partner the distinction of being the most decorated Japanese female Olympian, will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2018 in ceremonies in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on May 19, 2018.
Miho Takeda was born and raised in Kyoto Prefecture, on Honshu, Japan’s largest and most populous island. She began swimming at the age of 5 in Kyoto and turned to synchronized swimming two years later. She changed clubs at the age of thirteen to train under Masayo Imura, the national team coach and “Mother of Japanese Synchro.”
At fifteen, Miho was selected to the Japanese Junior National Team that won a bronze medal at the 1991 FINA Junior World Championships. Two years later she reached the podium in solo, duet and team at 1993 Junior World Championships.
In 1994, she was on Japan’s team that won the bronze medal in the team event at the FINA World Championships. In 1995, Miho graduated from high school, began her studies at the elite Ritsumeikan University and, with the retirement of 1992 Olympic medalist Fumiko Okuno, was paired with Miya Tachibana as a duet team. Together, over the next 8 years, they would win a total of 5 Olympic medals and become Japan’s most decorated female Olympians.
Their first Olympic medal came in Atlanta, where they won bronze in the team event, which was the only synchronized swimming event on the Olympic program that year. Then at two FINA World Cups, and at the 1998 World Championships between Olympics, Takeda and Tachibana won silver medals, just behind the Russians in each event. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, the Russians won again, while Miho and Miya won silver in both duet and team.
It was a different story at the 2001 FINA World Championships, in Fukuoka, Japan. Performing before an exuberant home crowd, Miho and Miya gave one of the best performances of their lives and received a near perfect score of 98.910. It was enough to claim Japan’s first ever world title in Synchronized Swimming and beat the reigning Olympic champions, Anastasia Ermakova and Anastasia Davydova, score of 98.390.
That was the last time anyone would beat the Russians, who won every major competition after Fukuoka, including the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, But always just a fraction of a point behind were Miho Takeda and Miya Tachibani and the Japanese swimmers.
During their career together, Miho and Miya won one gold medal – Fuuoka 2001 – and seven silver medals at the eight FINA or Olympic competitions held from 1997 to 2004 in duet competitions. In the team competitions, they won 6 silver medals and one bronze medal, missing the podium only once in the same eight year period. With her induction, Miho Joines Miya (inducted in 2011) as one of the great synchronized swimmers of the modern era.
After retiring, Miho stayed active in synchronized swimming as a television commentator, performer in water shows, and celebrity endorser. In 2007, she married Eikei Suzuki, a lawyer and politician who was elected governor of Mie Prefecture in 2011. In addition to being a mother since 2012, she is a professor at Mie University, serves as honorary Chair of the Mie UNICEF Association and gives lectures on diet and exercise, on corporate training and writing – and continues to share her love of the water and synchronized swimming with children.
About The International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Weekend
The International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Induction Ceremony is shaping up to be a star-studded weekend with multiple events spread out over three days in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Make your plans now to attend the weekend of May 18-20, 2018! ISHOF Members can purchase the Weekend Package and save!
This year’s International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees include Swimmers: Rebecca Adlington (GBR), Amanda Beard (USA), and Libby Trickett (AUS); Water Polo Player: Brenda Villa (USA); Contributor: Andy Burke (USA); Diver: Irina Lashko (USSR, RUS, AUS) ; Coach: Bill Sweetenham (AUS); Synchronized Swimmer: Miho Takeda (JPN); Open Water Swimmer: Petar Stoychev (BUL); and Pioneer Synchronized Swimming Contributor: Joy Cushman (USA). Ian Crocker (USA) was a part of the Class of 2017, but was unable to attend the induction due to Hurricane Harvey. We will be officially celebrating his induction as part of the class of 2018.
The Paragon Awards and ISHOF Awards will be presented of Friday of the same weekend
2018 Paragon Award and ISHOF Award Recipients:
- Frank Busch for Competitive Swimming
- Dr. Ben Rubin for Diving
- Bob Corb for Water Polo
- Jennifer Gray for Synchronized Swimming
- David Bell for Recreational Swimming
- Jill White for Water Safety
- Anthony Ervin and Constantine Markides – Buck Dawson Author Award: “Chasing Water: Elegy of an Olympian”
- Gay DeMario – ISHOF Service Award
- Lana Whitehead – Judge G. Harold Martin Award
- Johnny Johnson – Virginia Hunt Newman Award
- Kathy Bateman – John K. Williams, Jr. International Adapted Aquatics Award
- Bob Ingram – Al Schoenfield Media Award
- Swim Across America Fundraiser for Cancer Awareness 8-11 AM at the Hall of Fame Pool
- ISHOF Clinic for Kids produced by Fitter and Faster with Olympian Cammile Adams 11AM to 2 PM Hall of Fame Pool