Down and out: Fall in final costs Japan shot at pursuit gold

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan’s Nana Takagi, right, tumbles to the ice behind teammates Miho Takagi, left, and Ayano Sato during the women’s team pursuit final on Tuesday at the Beijing Games.

Japanese speed skaters weren’t able to defend their title in the women’s team pursuit, settling for the silver medal at the Beijing Winter Olympics on Tuesday after a shocking loss to Canadian in the final.

The trio of Miho Takagi, her sister Nana Takagi and Ayano Sato had disastrous fall on the final turn and came across the line in 3 minutes 04.47 seconds over 2,400-meters at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing.

Nana Takagi, who was at the back of the trio, took the tumble that knocked Japan, which had beaten the Russian Olympic Committee in the semifinals earlier, out of contention for gold.

Canada won in an Olympic record 2:53.44 and the Netherlands clocked 2:56.86 to secure bronze.

Japan had set the previous Olympic record of 2:53.61, which it set in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Tuesday’s team pursuit silver gave Miho Takagi her third medal at these Olympics. Along with the three medals she earned at the Pyeongchang Games, Takagi has pushed her career total to six, making her the most decorated Japanese woman in both Summer and Winter Olympic competition.

Takagi, who is competing in five events in Beijing, is also the Japanese delegation’s captain there.

In her first event, the 3,000 on Feb. 5, she finished sixth. Takagi took silver in the 1,500 on Feb. 7 and was also second in the 500 on Sunday.

Her last event is Thursday’s 1,000, in which she took bronze at the Pyeongchang Games.