We were excited last month to pick up the phone for a truly out-there request by a Japanese film crew interested in visiting and filming in our shop. Oh and by the way, would we have time to be interviewed and hang with Karoi Icho? They explained that they were producing a documentary about 32-year-old Japanese Olympic medalist, Kaori Icho and they wanted us to be a part of it.
If you're not familiar with Kaori, she's a Japanese freestyle wrestler who has never lost a bout at the Olympics -- can you believe that! She won her first gold medal at the Athens Olympics in 2004. She went on to repeat that win at Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and most recently at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Those impressive accomplishments make Kaori the first female Olympian to win four consecutive titles in the same discipline. It's made her a legend at home in Japan, in her sport and now here in Edmonton too.
Now you're probably asking, what does Kaori's impressive international accomplishments have to do with chocolate and Edmonton? Well it turns out, she trained here leading up to the Rio Olympics and frequented our shop for her favourite after-workout treat -- our chocolate bonbons.
In recognition of her impressive achievements, Ichō received the People’s Honour Award from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo in September, 2016. As you can imagine, she's a rock star at home. We're excited to watch the documentary about her life and her rise to Olympic history when it's released. It's exciting to think our chocolates played a very small role in Icho's journey.
We had the chance to talk to our own local Olympic reporting legend, CBC's Edmonton AM host Mark Connolly about it this week.