Great 2018 Winter Olympics for Japan: Female Speed Skaters led the way
Noriko Watanabe and Chika Mori
Modern Tokyo Times
The 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea is one that will stay in the memory of all Japanese lovers who adore sport. Hence, the welcoming city of Pyeongchang in South Korea will stay etched in the memory, just like the Nagano Olympics of 1998 that witnessed Japan obtaining 10 medals. However, in Pyeongchang, the competitors from Japan won an amazing 13 medals.
Notably, Japanese female speed skaters have led the way because they won 3 gold medals out of the 4 gold medals won by Japan. On top of this, 2 silver medals and a bronze medal were won by Japanese female speed skaters. Therefore, while the 2018 Winter Olympics will be remembered for the great achievements made by speed skaters from Holland (the Netherlands), it is equally true to state that Japanese female skaters are now a formidable force.
Of course, the gracefulness of Yuzuru Hanyu will be remembered because he won the men’s figure skating gold despite carrying a very bad injury in late 2017. Amazingly, even if Hanyu had failed, which never looked in doubt, the second best male figure skater also hails from Japan. Hence, Shoma Uno, the silver medalist, just shows you the depth of figure skating in Japan.
Uno also showed the right spirit because he said gracefully, “Hanyu has proved once again that he is No. 1. I’ll keep on chasing him and try and become a competitor that can close the gap.”
Lee Jay Walker at Modern Tokyo Times says, “Nana Takagi put the icing on the Japanese Olympic cake by winning the speed skating race called the mass start. Thereby, for Takagi, her two gold medals – she had earlier won the team pursuit – showed the determination that was held by the entire Japanese female speed skating team.”
Indeed, the late gold medal by Takagi, along with the bronze medal won by the women’s curling team, highlights the fact that medals flowed throughout the 2018 Winter Olympics. Equally, this was the first curling medal that Japan won in the history of this event since the land of the rising sun participated. Hence, it was noticeable that the Great Britain team collapsed under pressure, while Japan seemed confident and assured in alignment with the performance of many Japanese competitors throughout the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Takagi, after a negative first race, recovered amazingly in her last two major skates that led to two gold medals. She said, “A lot of frustration was left from that first race, but in my last two races I skated really well. I really settled down after winning in the team pursuit. This has become just the greatest Olympics.”
Overall, with just a few more competitions to go on the final day, all outside of the remit of Japan, then 13 medals is an astonishing haul. Equally important, several other Japanese competitors just missed out on medals in several different sports. Therefore, the future looks bright for team Japan!
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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