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Japanese Athletes Demonstrate Strength at Beijing Games
Speed Skater Miho Takagi Smiles with 1 Gold, 3 Silvers after Competing in 5 Events
Japanese athletes won a record 18 medals-three golds, six silvers and nine bronzes-at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games held in the Chinese capital and surrounding areas in February amid the unabated novel coronavirus pandemic. Speed skater Miho Takagi clinched four medals including gold in the women's 1,000 meters, becoming the Japanese athlete in history to earn the most Olympic medals. Ayumu Hirano brought the first men's snowboarding halfpipe gold medal to Japan by landing a pair of unprecedented triple corks on his second and third runs in the final. The world's top ski jumper Ryoyu Kobayashi grabbed gold in the men's normal hill individual to rewrite Japan's jumping history for the first time in 50 years. Other remarkable performers included women's curling team, Loco Solare, which made history by reaching the final to clinch the silver medal, and figure skater Yuma Kagiyama, who picked up silver in the men's singles on his Olympic debut. While some participants shed tears of happiness, others wept bitter ones. Female jumper Sara Takanashi made a big jump in the first round of the newly introduced mixed team event but was disqualified in questionable jumpsuit inspections, to which other leading female jumpers also fell prey. Speed skater Nana Takagi, the older sister of Miho, slipped on the last corner in the women's team pursuit final, in which the team was skating toward winning the second consecutive Olympic gold. Figure skating star Yuzuru Hanyu failed to win the third men's singles gold in a row due to a twist, finishing fourth overall. However, he made Olympic history by becoming the first officially recognized quad axel jumper.