Olympics-Speed skating-Japan’s Takagi gets sister’s support after shock fall in final – Metro US

Olympics-Speed skating-Japan’s Takagi gets sister’s support after shock fall in final

Speed Skating – Women’s 1500m
Speed Skating – Women’s 1500m

BEIJING (Reuters) – Japanese speed skater Nana Takagi was inconsolable after her fall before the finish line of the women’s team pursuit final at the Beijing Olympics that cost the country a gold medal, but her sister and team mate Miho was there for support.

Nana was seen crying uncontrollably after the race while her sister Miho hugged her. She was still wiping away tears when standing on the podium, eventually leaning on her younger sister’s shoulder and tearing up again.

“I couldn’t find any words to tell her at that moment. I just wanted to be close to her and give her a hug,” Miho said.

“You may feel they should not be held responsible, but the skater who falls will feel guilty. So I knew I had these mixed feelings and that is why I hugged my sister,” she added.

With the final stretch to skate, the gold medal looked well within reach for Japan as they raced ahead of rivals Canada until Nana lost her balance and crashed into the trackside wall.

“In this event, to fall, we understand the pressure will be on. We cannot turn it around, we cannot change it. That is frustrating,” 27-year-old Miho added.

Nana, 29, pocketed two gold medals at the Pyeongchang Olympics four years ago, but has not been able to repeat that success so far in Beijing.

“My mind hasn’t recovered from the fall. It’s hard for me to think or talk about it right now,” she said.

“Please don’t cry … you may all regret what happened but winning a silver medal is still amazing,” said a fan on Twitter.

“I … can’t find the words…,” said former Japan speed skater Toru Aoyanagi as he commentated on the race, according to Japanese media. “No, please don’t apologise,” he added, as scenes of Takagi apologising to team mates were broadcast.

Oblivious to the outpouring of support from wellwishers, Takagi looked devastated after the race.

In contrast with the skaters from Canada and Netherlands, who wrapped their arms around each others shoulders for photographs after winning gold and bronze respectively, the Japanese team stood solemnly as the cameras clicked away.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Ken Ferris)