Local Olympian looking for help on journey to Beijing

Taylor Takata
Taylor Takata

By Stephen Florino - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Any athlete will tell you the opportunity to represent your country at the Olympic games is priceless. But there actually is a price, as one local olympian is finding out.

Taylor Takata fulfilled a childhood dream by qualifying for the U.S. Olympic judo team, giving him the opportunity to represent his country, and his home.

"It's nice to be from Hawaii," said Takata. "The people here have been really supportive of me, and they've always done whatever they could to help me out."

And now Taylor really needs that support. Fulfilling his dream has come at a price -- literally. Four years of training for the games means the Olympics is his job. And paying for that training is coming out of his own pocket, with no income coming in.

"I was just in Spain and Germany, these last couple of weeks," said Takata. "We have to pay for the airfare over there, food, hotels, and camps are about a thousand dollars a piece, so when everything gets added up, it gets pretty costly."

So Taylor -- along with a couple of his Olympic coaches -- are teaching a judo clinic, to help raise money for his expenses.

"We're gonna be teaching what we know, our favorite techniques," he said. "We've travelled around the world, seen a lot of judo, so we're just gonna give back and help the kids out and share as much knowledge as we can."

That clinic is Sunday, July 13, at Iolani School's athletic complex.

First session runs from nine to noon, and is for children 12 and under. The second session is from 1 PM to 4 Pm, for those 13 and older.

Cost is $35 for participants. Taylor's also having a fundraising dinner next weekend. And you can make donations at any American Savings Bank.