By Mao Ueda / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer GANGNEUNG — Miho Takagi finished fifth in the women’s 3,000-meter speed skating on Saturday, missing the podium with a time of 4:01.35.
Compatriot Ayano Sato finished eighth with a time of 4:04.35, a new personal best, and Ayaka Kikuchi finished 19th. All three medals went to skaters from the Netherlands.
“I simply don’t have the ability to finish higher yet,” said Takagi. Observers had hoped even for a gold medal from Takagi.
She raced against Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands in her pair, and had to speed up to move ahead of De Jong while changing lanes, having completely lost her own pace.
The gap between Takagi’s time and that of the bronze medalist was 1.33 seconds, a harsh reality she had to accept.
Takagi participated in the Winter Olympics for the first time eight years ago. She competed in two events and ranked 35th for last place in the 1,000-meter race. That was a very disappointing result, but a greater source of regret was to come.
Four years ago, Takagi was not selected for the national team at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Her frustration at that gave her a new light in her eyes as she tackled her skating over the last four years up to the current Games.
“I’ve concentrated much more and prepared more than for any other events so far. I’m different than I was eight years ago,” she said.