Speed skater Nana Takagi signed off an Olympics to forget with another dramatic crash – awkwardly on the same bend where she derailed Japan’s gold medal hopes in the team pursuit.
The two-time champion from PyeongChang 2018 was chasing redemption after gifting Canada victory in the pursuit on Tuesday, but spectacularly crashed out of the lead in her mass start semi-final.
Takagi, wearing the No. 13, was out in front on the final lap as a lead group of nine tore down the back straight.
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“Reaching out for glory it is of course our defending champion. Thirteen unlucky for some, unlucky for everyone else if she holds onto this…” called Carlton Kirby on Eurosport commentary.
Then chaos ensued.
As Takagi swept around the final bend, the Japanese star – without provocation – went thundering to the icy floor and skidding away into the barrier.
“Oh she’s gone! She’s gone! Unlucky for her! Oh my life! And they race on without the defending champion, what a tragedy for her,” bellowed Kirby.
“What a disaster. Nana Takagi was all ready to raise her arms and it hasn’t happened and she will not be running off for a medal. Desperate stuff here.”
To her credit, Takagi untangled her limbs from the padded barrier and finished the race. But her Olympics were over – and not in the manner she had planned.
Irene Schouten profited from her absence to win a third speed skating gold medal with a brilliant sprint finish in the final.
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The Olympic Games will return with Paris 2024, live on Eurosport and discovery+
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