Miho Takagi of Japan set the Olympic record to win the women’s 1000m gold medal in speed skating on Thursday.
She had earned three silver medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics before capturing her first career individual gold with a time of 1:13.19 in the 13th pairing.
Bowe skated in the final pairing of 15 and recorded a time of 1:14.61.
The 33-year-old is the first American to earn a medal in the women’s 1000m at the Olympics since Chris Witty in 2002. She said she wanted to keep the momentum going after her friend and teammate Erin Jackson won the women’s 500m on Sunday.
“I got off to a great start, really strong and fast, but my lap speed just hasn’t been there,” Bowe said. “I was going for gold, but … I’m proud of the performance.”
Takagi and Bowe each opened with a split time of 17.60.
The Japanese skater’s final 400m lap was stronger at 28.71, as Leerdam’s was 29.36 seconds and Bowe’s 29.69.
“I wasn’t thinking too deeply about what my time would be,” Takagi said. “For me, it’s the same as a 500m. I was most focused on getting the start right.”
Leerdam had a slight slip in her race, which did not cost her a podium spot but potentially the gold medal. The 2020 world champion finished 0.64 seconds behind Takagi.
“I was pretty happy with the time, I thought it was going to be slower after that corner,” Leerdam, 23, said. “I was super fast, and I just couldn’t hold it for a second.”
Ireen Wuest of the Netherlands skated in her final Olympic race and finished sixth. She ends her Olympic career with 13 medals, the most in speed skating history.
Wuest earned two at the 2022 Winter Olympics, including gold in the 1500m. She won gold medals at five separate Olympic Games in her career, the most of any Olympian in any sport.
“I hoped for a spectacular last race, but it wasn’t,” Wuest said. “But overall, I’m looking at a great Olympics. I’ve only got one race (World Cup) left now, in Heerenveen (Netherlands), and after that, retirement.”
Kimi Goetz was the second American in the competition. She paired up with Leerdam and recorded a time of 1:15.40 to finish seventh in the final race of her first Olympics.
Takagi is the first Japanese skater to win the women’s 1000m gold medal. She finished second in the 500m behind Jackson and in the 1500m after Wuest. The 27-year-old nearly secured a gold medal in the women’s team pursuit, but her teammate and sister Nana Takagi fell during the final lap.
“I wasn’t able to accept any kind of pressure from outside,” Takagi said. “All I was thinking about was to finish the race, and start really well.”
She said her sister joked that it would be quite the feat to earn four silver medals.
Takagi is now a seven-time Olympic medalist.
Speed skating returns on Friday with the men’s 1000m race. The action will start at 3:30 a.m. ET.