TOKYO >> When Sena Tomita took the bronze in the women’s halfpipe Feb. 10 at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, not far behind was younger sister Ruki.
Sena Tomita scored an 88.25, and Ruki Tomita recorded an 80.50 to place fifth. This is the second time around for 22-year-old Sena, who finished eighth in the halfpipe at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Ruki, just two years younger, is at her first Olympics.
“I didn’t expect them both to become Olympians,” said their mother, Misato, who snowboards recreationally, as does their father, Tatsuya. The family is from Niigata prefecture.
Both sisters started snowboarding at age 3. Their parents thought it would be fun for the family to snowboard together.
At first, each of the sisters was tied to their father by a rope. They would walk up a slope, then snowboard down. When their father showed them how to make a turn, they learned by imitating him and had mastered turns by the time they entered elementary school.
Sena became a professional snowboarder in the seventh grade, her first year of middle school. Not to be outdone, Ruki obtained her pro certification when she was in the sixth grade.
“We were saying, ‘It’s great we could compete together,’ and that’s a happy feeling,” said Sena before the Games kicked off on Feb. 4. “But I feel the same way as always, that I don’t want to lose to her.”