Japanese sprinter Nao Kodaira will close the book on his legendary career

Japan’s first Olympic speed skating champion Nao Kodaira announced her retirement on Tuesday, saying she would end her competitive career this fall.

Kodaira, the winner of the women’s 500 meters title at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, was a two-time world sprint champion, won two 500 titles at the world single distance championships and has 34 career victories in the World Cup in the 500 and 1,000 metres. .

Japan’s Nao Kodaira celebrates after winning the women’s 500 meters speed skating gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, February 18, 2018. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

“The last race of my sports career will be the 500 meters at the national single distance championships in October this year,” she said of the October 22-24 event, which will be held in her home prefecture. from Nagano.

As one of Japan’s hottest speed skaters, the 35-year-old has competed in four consecutive Winter Olympics beginning with the 2010 Vancouver Games and has long been one of the dominating forces women’s sprint races.

Speed ​​skater Nao Kodaira, who won gold in the women’s 500 meters at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, said at a press conference in Nagano, central Japan, on 12 April 2022 that she planned to end her competitive career with a race in Nagano in October. (Kyōdo) == Kyōdo

An ankle injury prevented her from finding winning form at the Beijing Games in February, where she finished 17th in the 500m and 10th in the 1000m.

Her best Olympics came in 2018 when she added a silver in the 1000m to the gold she won in her pet 500m event.

She set a world record in the 1,000 meters in December 2017, skating a time of 1 minute and 12.09 seconds in Salt Lake City, Utah. This record stood until Brittany Bowe of the United States broke it at the same location in March 2019.

Japan’s Nao Kodaira poses for photos with a sign showing her new women’s 1,000 meters world record of 1 minute, 12.09 seconds after winning a World Cup race at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, Utah, December 10, 2017. (Kyōdo)