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Hunt for mystery man who held inspiring posters every day outside the Olympic Village

‘Good morning athletes! Even if you don’t get a medal, you’re still the best!! So believe in yourself!’ the mystery man’s sign read

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 12 August 2021 17:40 BST
A mystery man held up motivational signs for the Olympic athletes
A mystery man held up motivational signs for the Olympic athletes (Youka Nagase)
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As the mental wellbeing of athletes was becoming a dominant theme of the Tokyo Games, a Japanese man who spent hours each day outside the Olympic village holding up motivational signs has become an internet sensation.

The mystery man would arrive at the village at 7am each day during the Games with words of encouragement for sportsmen and women competing that day.

“Good morning athletes!” the mystery man’s sign read. “Even if you don’t get a medal, you’re still the best!! So believe in yourself!”

After pictures of the man went viral online, internet sleuths were intrigued: What motivated this masked, middle-aged man in a casual business attire to turn up day after day and stand for two hours in the sweltering Tokyo heat with his posters?

According to Time Out, the man had initially gone to the village to hold out welcome signs for the  visiting athletes.

After a couple of days he became concerned at the fixation on medal tables and turned up instead with his inspiring poster.

The question of who he is proving harder to answer.

He reportedly wants to remain anonymous, and let his message of goodwill do the talking.

The sign was noticed and welcomed by athletes at the games, who posted pictures of him to Instagram.

At Tokyo, many athletes shared their stories of struggling to cope with the mental side of competing at the highest level.

Simone Biles suffered a mental state known as the “twisties”, where her mind lost track of her body’s trajectory in the air.

Ms Biles, who also experienced the sudden death of an aunt during the Games, pulled out of several events before returning to win bronze on the balance beam.

​​“I just feel like we have to focus on ourselves as humans, not just athletes, because I feel like we lose touch of our human feelings sometimes,” Biles said afterwards.

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