Akito Watabe started with the sport of Nordic Combined when he was 12 years old. At first, it looked like his specialty would lie in ski jumping but after a crash in training in Kuusamo in 2006 where he fell and broke his wrist, he came back as a stronger cross-country skier after the two-month break he had to take.
Watabe, who is described as a perfectionist and an ambitious hard worker by his teammates, lives and studies in the prefecture of Saitama, Japan. Nordic Combined runs in his family as his younger brother Yoshito is also a Nordic Combined athlete in the World Cup circus. Aktito's break-through year came in 2011 when he managed to improve his podium ranks from one to fourteen and finished second in the overall World Cup ranking.
Since then, the Japanese has moved up to be a regular on the World Cup podiums, finishing among the Top Three 24 times, claiming five individual victories so far. He established himself well and truly among the big names of Nordic Combined by finally winning an individual silver medal at a major event at the Olympics in Sochi after having been a victim of the "fourth-place-syndrome" as he called it for quite some time.
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