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Speed Skater Miho Takagi Zooms to Two Victories at the World Championships

Two years after collecting four medals, including one gold, at the Beijing Olympics, Miho Takagi won the 1,000- and 1,500-meter world titles in Calgary, Canada.



Miho Takagi
Miho Takagi competes in the women's 1,500 meters at the 2024 ISU World Speed Skating Single Distances Championships on February 18 in Calgary, Canada. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Speed Skater Miho Takagi Zooms to Two Victories at the World Championships

Some sports rely on guile and finesse along with power to achieve the desired results. But in speed skating, as Miho Takagi demonstrated at the 2024 ISU World Speed Skating Single Distances Championships, it's really only about one thing.

The three-time Japanese Olympian was the fastest woman in two events at the Olympic Oval in Calgary, Canada. Therefore, she won the 1,000 meters on Saturday, February 17 and the 1,500 on Sunday.

Entering the world championships, Takagi was ranked No 1 in both events based on results throughout the 2023-24 ISU World Cup speed skating campaign.

The veteran athlete from Hokkaido Prefecture handled the pressure of being the favorite on back-to-back days in the Canadian province of Alberta, whose largest city, Calgary, hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics.

Takagi was clocked in 1 minute, 12.83 seconds in the 1,000 to claim her first-ever individual gold medal at the world championships. She had previously collected 12 total medals in past years at the world championships, including a trio of gold in the team pursuit event. In March 2023, Takagi finished as the bronze medalist in the 1,000 and the 1,500 at the world championships in the Netherlands.


Miho Takagi
Miho Takagi, winner of the women's 1,000 meters on February 17. (KYODO)

Euphoria for Miho Takagi 

The 29-year-old was excited about the victory.


"I could pay back the people supporting me with the gold medal, and it touches my heart," Takagi was quoted as saying by Kyodo News.

Takagi skated against training partner Mei Han of China in the 1,000. Han was pushed throughout the race and finished in 1:13.27 to secure the silver.

Miho Takagi
Miho Takagi skates in the women's 1,000 meters en route to victory on February 17 at the world championships. (AP/via KYODO)

"I was also happy to skate with [Han]," Takagi, the reigning Olympic champion in the women's 1,000 told reporters, according to an ISU news release. "She did very well and I could follow her at the final backstretch. My skating changed a little because I tried to catch her. I had to adjust my stroke a bit."

After Takagi and Han stepped onto the ice for their assigned start, reigning world champion Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands had a shot at knocking Takagi from the top spot on the leaderboard. Leerdam completed the first 600 meters in a blistering 44.21 seconds (fastest among the event's 24 participants), with Takagi second at 44.54 seconds. 

But over the final stretch of the race, Leerdam didn't maintain the same speed. She slowed down a bit and earned the bronze in 1:13.28.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven


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