“Be a victor, not a victim.”
Shigeki Tanaka, aged 13 years old at the time of the first atomic bombing in 1945, was living at a distance of 20 miles from where the bomb detonated. Tanaka laid the base of his early life as a long distance marathon runner back in school. After the bombing all Japanese athletes were banned from participating in all major international competitions after WWII. However Shigeki Tanaka got his first big break as a long-distance runner in the 1951 Boston Marathon, which happened to be the first post WWII competition to allow Japanese athletes to take part. He was invited among four other Japanese runners by Will Cloney of the Boston Athletic Association.
At the age of 19, Shigeki Tanaka won the Boston Marathon, and when he crossed the finishing line the crowd became silent. His win marked a great moment in history and was appreciated highly by the Japanese, for he brought a moment of happiness for the war ridden people. After his win, Tanaka was nicknamed as the ‘Atomic Boy’, which he was not very fond of. His victory paved way for a healthy relation between Japan and Boston and opened doors for other Japanese athletes as well.