Miho Takagi takes gold in women’s 1,000 meters

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Miho Takagi reacts after her race in Beijing on Thursday.

BEIJING — Speed skater Miho Takagi won the gold medal in the women’s 1,000 meters at the Beijing Olympics on Thursday, making her the most decorated female Olympian in Japanese history.

Takagi finished with the Olympic record of 1 minute 13.19 seconds to secure her second consecutive medal in the 1,000 meters, following her bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

It was her fourth medal in Beijing overall, following silvers in the 1,500 meters, 500 meters and team pursuit. Nao Kodaira finished 10th in 1:15.65.

No other Japanese athlete has won four medals at a single Winter Olympics.

Takagi’s total medal count is now at seven, including the three she brought home from Pyeongchang. These are the most medals secured by a female Japanese Olympian, as well as a new Winter Olympic record for any Japanese athlete.

Takagi competed in five events in Beijing, including the 3,000 meters, in which she did not medal.

She said she went all out in setting the Olympic record.

“I’m glad I was able to push myself to the limit at the end,” Takagi told reporters after the flower ceremony.

“I experienced a lot of difficulties at the start of the Olympics. Even if I wouldn’t have won the race, I was just happy that I was able to skate the kind of race that I wouldn’t regret. But getting the gold made me doubly happy. I feel like I have a long-lasting tangible result.

“To be honest, I was at my physical limit,” she added about her post-race fatigue. “Rather than feeling tired, I have the feeling that my insides were overworked. I’m just happy I was able to finish the race without any trouble.”