PyeongChang / Republic of Korea

#SpeedSkating                                         #PyeongChang2018

After having won all 1500m World Cup races in which she started, Miho Takagi (JPN) was the red-hot favorite to win the distance at PyeongChang 2018, but record champion Ireen Wüst (NED) edged her out by 0.2 seconds on Monday. The 23-year-old Japanese was left with silver, but her Olympic campaign is far from over yet.


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Miho Takagi (JPN) ©Getty Images

 “With the 1000m and the Team Pursuit yet to come, I expect that she will only get better,” said Japan national coach Johan de Wit (NED). “Of course, we won four World Cup races this year and that’s fantastic, but there was always something. People were absent, Wüst did not feel well, and in the media you could also feel that thought: ‘Wait and see at the Games.’ Wüst skates her best race of the year here, and Miho skates a very good one but not good enough. I’ve said it throughout the year: ‘if people want to beat Miho they have to race super good, and that’s just what Wüst did.”

De Wit thought that nerves may have got the better of Takagi in the run-up to the Olympic Games. “I think she can do better, and that’s not out of disrespect to the other skaters. The pressure was enormous. If you see what our skaters have to do here at the Olympics, there’s so many requests from the IOC. They have to appear everywhere. Then it’s hard to show it all in 1 minute and 54 seconds. The tension may have been a little too high. You could see that when she broke down in tears after the race. Now that she has this medal, she can relax a little more. That’s what you saw happening with Wüst too after her silver medal in the 3000m.”


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(L) Heather Bergsma (USA) / (R) Miho Takagi (JPN) ©Getty Images


Takagi herself said the silver gives her extra motivation: It was only 0.2 seconds. If I were faster by 0.2 seconds, it would've brought me a better thing and that really made me frustrated. However, I've come all the way to this stage. There are so many things and so many people supporting me. So, looking back, I am happy that I've come to second place. So it's quite a complicated and complex feeling.

"I am happy but at the same time, frustrated. So, the 1000m and team pursuit events are the upcoming races and I will really strive for a better color of medal or show a better performance. Now I am motivated to go faster and better and that's a great reflection from today."


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Miho Takagi (JPN) ©Getty Images