Speed skating-Fourth time lucky: Takagi wins gold in 1000 metres – Reuters

2022 Beijing Olympics – Speed Skating – Women’s 1000m – National Speed Skating Oval, Beijing, China – February 17, 2022. Miho Takagi of Japan reacts after her run. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

BEIJING, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Japan’s Miho Takagi clinched her first gold of the Beijing Olympics on Thursday, following up on the three other medals she has already won in the Winter Games so far, as she sailed to victory in the women’s 1,000 metres speed skating.

Takagi kept close to the pace set by silver medallist Jutta Leerdam at the onset of the race. Despite falling behind at one point, she breezed through the final lap half a second ahead of Leerdam’s time and crossed the finish line in an Olympic record of 1 minute 13.19 seconds.

The 27-year-old punched the air in delight upon seeing her record after crossing the finish line.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Leerdam had hoped to follow in fellow Dutchwoman and previous champion Jorien ter Mors’s footsteps to win gold. She was gliding effortlessly through her laps, at times ahead of the Olympic record, but almost slipped on a corner, wobbling dangerously and touching the ice before powering through to finish her distance.

She could be seen shaking her head slightly after completing the distance in one minute 13.83 seconds.

“I’m happy, but after the race I was a little sad with my corner that cost me some seconds. I had too much speed and wasn’t used to it. I just thought ‘oh’, and hammered one more lap,” she said after her race.

Leerdam claimed silver, while world record holder Brittany Bowe of the United States took bronze in 1:14.61.

Takagi, who clocked the fastest time this season of 1:11.83, has won two individual medals in Beijing, finishing second in the 1,500m behind Wust and winning a surprise silver in the 500m.

The gold medal appeared to be just within reach as she raced ahead of her Canadian rivals towards the finish line in the women’s team pursuit, until a fall by her sister and team mate Nana Takagi cost them the title and landed them with a silver instead.

That silver medal, which was accepted solemnly amid tears, was the sixth of Takagi’s career and made her the most decorated Japanese female Olympian.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jacqueline Wong

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.