Japanese speed skating great Miho Takagi finally won her first individual Winter Olympic gold by breaking a Games record to claim the 1000m in Beijing.
The 27-year-old, who is one of the sport’s fastest women ever, ended a run of three silver medals in China to top the podium, taking her to seven Olympic medals overall.
The Netherlands’ Jutte Leerdam was second after a mistake during her skate, ahead of world champion and world record holder Brittany Bowe.
Netherlands dominate action in Heerenveen, with World Cup wins for Leerdam, Schouten and Hoolwerf
Britain’s Ellia Smeding, in her final event at her first Games, delivered a credible performance to finish 23rd.
1500m bronze winner Antoinette de Jong, a four-time Olympic medallist, set the early pace with 1:14.92 and with five pairs remaining at the ice refresh, she was still ahead by 0.72 seconds.
But former world champion Jutta Leerdam was still to go and she set a much higher bar with her effort, racing just short of the Olympic record to go 1.09 second lead, despite a mistake which meant she had to touch the ice to keep her balance.
'Boom! Olympic record' - Takagi wins gold for Japan with stunning skate
History maker Ireen Wust, who became the first Olympian ever to win gold at five separate Games by claiming the 1500m title at the start of the programme, was well down on her effort to claim a 14th Olympic medal, moving into third place with her attempt with six skaters still to go
Japan’s Takagi, statistically the fastest overall active athlete in women’s speed skating, produced a superb performance to set a new Olympic record of 1:13.19 - punching the air to move into gold medal position with four remaining.
- Jackson: I hope my win does something for the sport
- 'What a way to bow out' - Wust breaks Olympic record and wins gold in 1500m
- History! Wust becomes first athlete to strike individual gold at FIVE Olympics
Tagaki’s team-mate Nao Kodaira and China’s Li Qishi could not challenge for the medals, but world champion Bowe would look to deny the Japanese athlete.
But the American world record holder was not able to put down a time to challenge Kakagi, who finally delivered on her promise, having agonisingly missed out on other titles.
The Japanese skater had looked a contender for some years, sitting second in the Adelskalender, which measures an athlete’s all-time record times across certain distances and takes an average, behind the retired Cindy Klassen.
- - -
Watch every moment of Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on discovery+
Schouten sets Olympic record to take gold in women’s 3000m speed skating
Japan's speed-skating coach De Wit tests positive for Covid-19
Share this article