Interview with an Olympian: Kaito Streets

It’s rare to be able to speak face to face with someone who stands at the top of their field. It may be even rarer to be able to sit down and have a conversation with an Olympian. GoConnect recently had that chance when we met Kaito Streets, a sabre fencer who competed at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games.

Kaito was born in Japan, but moved to the United States at the age of seven. As a kid, his love of playing with toy swords was the spark that led to his passion for fencing. After joining a local fencing club in his hometown of Redwood City, California, Kaito had a special confidence—even when facing older or more experienced kids—which he says is one of his key strengths as a competitor. From that point, he fully embraced the sport and accumulated accolades, such as being a two-time US National Champion, three-time NCAA All-American, and NCAA Champion (Individual and Team) in 2014.

After becoming a champion at the collegiate level, Kaito decided to come back to his birthplace in Japan and compete with the fencers here, especially in anticipation of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He was again able to find success, winning the Japan National Championship in both 2017 and 2019. His ability to compete in a variety of environments and be dominant at the sabre event eventually earned him a spot on the Japanese National Fencing Team as well as a spot on the Olympic team that competed last summer.

Newfound Fame

Going up against the absolute elite of his sport, Kaito was nervous but simultaneously right at home. It was also the beginning of a new challenge for Kaito. He didn’t set out to be a media personality, but the TikTok videos he made during the Olympics about what it was like to compete and hang out in the Olympic Village had given him a new opportunity.

From there, his social media exploded. He has a current TikTok follower count of more than 153,000 and 15,200 followers on Instagram. His newfound fame even landed him a chance to appear on Japanese television and compete on TBS’s popular show Ninja Warrior. He has become one of the most popular sports influencers in Japan and has also partnered with brands such as Hyperice, who support the top athletes in the world.

Although Kaito grew in popularity, he still continues to make fencing the star of his content. He hopes to inspire more people and introduce them to the sport of fencing. One of his proudest achievements was when someone commented on his social media that they not only became a fan of his, but a fan of the sport as they continued to watch fencing even once the 2020 Summer Games had ended.

With the 2024 Paris Games only a couple of years away, Kaito is hard at work with his training and international competitions. However, he doesn’t forget to keep inspiring young people to pick up the sport that he loves. Check out his new YouTube channel where he makes shorts, skits, and vlogs about his life as a professional athlete.

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