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Japanese News: About this amazing women’s speed skating team pursuit!

Context: On Wednesday, Japan won Olympic gold in women’s speed skating team pursuit. The trio Miho Takagi, Ayano Sato and Nana Takagi claimed Japan’s third gold medal and set a new world and Olympic record. They defeated the Dutch, who had won gold at Sochi and who themselves set their own new record during this race. What is more, this new medal (the 11th for Japan) makes Pyeongchang the most successful Winter Olympics for Japan.

I found several articles on NHK about how people reacted to this victory.

The team

Source: スピードスケート女子団体パシュート 日本金メダル 4人の談話

4 women stepped on the podium: the sisters Miho and Nana Takagi and Ayano Sato who raced in the final race and Ayaka Kikuchi who raced in the semi-finals.

And as I have decided to make some efforts to remember Japanese names:

高木美帆 (たかぎ・みほ) Miho TAKAGI
高木菜那 (たかぎ・なな) Nana TAKAGI
佐藤綾乃 (さとう・あやの) Ayano SATO
菊池彩花 (きくち・あやか) Ayaka KIKUCHI

Miho Takagi underlined the fact that this victory is a team achievement:

“この優勝はチーム全員の力がないと成し遂げることができなかった金メダルだと思うので、感無量です”

  • 成し遂げる・なしとげる: accomplish, achieve. The object can be “目的” or “計画”.
  • 感無量・かんむりょう: deep emotion. You can say 感無量になる (be overwhelmed by emotion) or, as Miho TAKAGI says “感無量です” (to be delighted beyond words).

Nana Takagi also said that they could set a world and Olympic record because they put their strength together “みんなの力が1つになって”. She is glad that they could share the joy of the gold medal (with their fans and Japanese):

“金メダルの喜びを分かち合えてよかった”

  • 分かち合う・わかちあう means “share something with…”, I think that it is used with emotions like in this interesting example sentence: “喜びも悲しみも分かち合える仲間.”

Ayano SATO says that she felt a tension she never experienced before “きょうは今までに感じたのことない緊張を味わって”. Like in English “味わう” that means “taste” can also mean “to experience”.

Finally, Ayaka Kikuchi, who didn’t race the final but helped to the victory by racing in the semi-finals, summarizes what the whole team must be feeling: “スケート人生で最高の大会になった.”

Local supporters

Source: 地元も興奮 女子団体パシュート金メダル

In each player’s native place, a big screen had been installed for public viewing. Reactions were the same in the sisters Takagi and Ayano Sato’s respective hometown. Supporters burst into cries of joy when the team won the gold medal. Here are some interesting expressions found in the article.

All the supporters “watched the race”. The verb used is always “見守る” that means “watch” or “watch intently”, “stare at”.

When the team qualified for the final, the supported applauded. I was surprised by the collocation “拍手を送る”. The verb 送る can also be used with 声援・せいえん (shout of encouragement), the expression “声援を送る” appears at least third time in the article.

Both cries of joy and cries of encouragement “go up” あがる. We find expressions like “歓声を上げる”, “頑張れと声を上げる”.

And of course, they all rose together when the team reached the finish line: “一斉に立ち上がる”.

In Foreign media

Source: 女子団体パシュート金メダル 海外メディアも称賛

The foreign press also praised 称賛する・しょうさんする the girls’ exploit.

Reuters praised the perfect cohesion of the team “日本チームは完璧に息があっていた” and titled “Japan dethrone Dutch” which is translated as “オリンピックの座にあったオランダを退けた”.

  • 退ける・しりぞける: oust somebody from (a position).

The BBC also praised the “superb final push from Japan” that allowed them to win and set a new record: “すばらしいラストスパート”.

  • spurt: a sudden increase in speed, effort, activity or emotion for a short period of time.

It also recalled that this new medal brings the actual total number of medals hold by Japan to 11 medals, making Pyeongchang the most successful Winter Olympics until now.

On the IOC website, Japanese women’s performance was qualified as “perfect” “完璧なパフォーマンス”.

The Dutch press showed surprise and disappointment “驚きと落胆” but praised “たたえる” the Japan team performance. Even if the Dutch women set their best record during the race, they were still defeated by the Japanese: “オランダの国内最高記録を出しても銀メダルに終わってしまった”.

People in the street

Source: パシュート金から一夜明け 新聞号外に「興奮冷めない」

Finally, some reactions from fans who bought a special edition at Shibuya the morning following the race.

A woman said “本当に興奮が冷めない感じでした”.

  • 興奮・こうふん means “excitement” and 興奮が冷める is indeed a collocation (found it in my dictionary).

A man said that he watched the race and uses the verb 観戦する・かんせん which means “watch a match”. I didn’t know that there is a special verb to use in a sports context. He also said that he was “deeply moved” and “greatly impressed”: 感激する・かんげき.


My English notebook

Spurt: to work in spurts, a spurt of activity, put on a spurt (hurry up).

  • win (Olympic) gold in women’s team pursuit skating
  • women’s speed skating team pursuit
  • claim gold
  • secure a …th gold
  • win a surprise women’s speed skating team pursuit gold
  • capture the team pursuit gold medal

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