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Rihei Sano

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRihei•Sano
Used nameRihei•Sano
Original name佐野•理平
Born21 September 1912 in ?, Shizuoka (JPN)
Died26 March 1992
AffiliationsWaseda University, Tokyo (JPN)
NOC Japan


Due to the fact that there was much more physical contact between the players and the goalkeeper in his era, Rihei Sano required not only good positioning and rapid reflexes, but also excellent physical strength. He played for the Shizuoka Junior High School and later for the Waseda University. In the first round of the 1936 Olympic tournament, his saves were important in achieving the “miracle of Berlin,” in which Japan came back to win in the second half from two goals down against Sweden. In 1937, Sano served as captain of the Waseda soccer team. His international playing record remained limited to the two games in the Berlin Olympics.

After graduating in 1938, Sano joined the Mitsui Mining Co. In the following year he was called to service in the Pacific War. In 1956, he was appointed as one of the coaches of the Japanese football team at the Melbourne Olympics. Later he served as managing director of the machinery company Mitsui Miike.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1936 Summer Olympics Football (Football) JPN Rihei Sano
Football, Men (Olympic) Japan =5