Breaking Away

When sprinter Shingo Suetsugu races around the track wearing his high-tech spikes and aerodynamic suit, he has another less visible secret weapon: he practices ancient techniques used by samurai and ninja to move more swiftly through the streets of Edo-era Japan. Suetsugu, 24, credits a centuries-old practice called nanba for the bronze medal he won in the 200-m race at last year's track-and-field World Championships, which made him the first East Asian since 1900 to land a medal in an international sprint competition. In Athens, the goateed native of Japan's southern Kyushu Island is entered to compete in the 100-m and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!