Two-time silver medalist Akito Watabe won bronze in Tuesday's Beijing Olympics large-hill individual Nordic combined, and said the podium finish was due to his tenacity.
Watabe finished 0.6 second behind the gold medalist Joergen Graabak of Norway. His countryman Jens Luraas Oftebro was 0.4 back for silver.
The 33-year-old Watabe started the 10-kilometer cross country race in fifth place and by the middle of the race was in the lead, but after being passed he undertook a furious counter charge that nearly secured him gold in a thrilling finish.
"Landing on the podium was the result of my obsession with getting a medal, regardless of the color and wanting to use every last bit of strength I had," he said.
For Watabe, who won normal-hill silver in 2014 and 2018, it might be the last time he is in that position. He said after his son was born in November 2020 that his priorities would shift after Beijing.
"As I had said, this will be my final Olympics for which I devote 100 percent of my time," he said.
Despite the narrow defeat, Watabe said winning bronze was nothing close to winning gold.
"It's like the harder I try to reach out for it, the more my chances slip through my fingers."
Still, the bronze brought Japan's medal count to a record 14, bettering the 13 won in Pyeongchang in 2018.
Japan's Ryota Yamamoto finished 12th, while Watabe's younger brother Yoshito ended 25th, and compatriot Hideaki Nagai was 31th.
Leading candidate Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway, who was absent from the normal hill event due to the coronavirus infection, finished eighth, after losing time for taking a wrong turn.