Jutta Leerdam (24) remained undefeated in the 1,000 meters for the eighteenth time. The Dutch skater stayed just ahead of the competition on the first day of the World Cup competition in Japan. And that despite a “very tough week”.
The Telegraph Vincent Van Genechten
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Miho Takagi was one of the main challengers to Leerdam, who is in a relationship with Jake Paul. In the first round of the Japanese it was already clear that Leerdam could not be traced. Takagi came close, but was slightly slower than the Dutch. Leerdam herself achieved a stable first lap, after which she finished it off with flying colors with a time of 1.14.57. That was enough to trump Takagi (1.14.68) and Kimi Goetz (1.14.75).
Leerdam was happy that she was the best again “on autopilot”. The 24-year-old world champion had her mind elsewhere due to family circumstances. “Something about health, which is not going well in my family,” she told NOS. “It was a difficult day, but I’m happy I won. With the stress and tension added, it is not very nice. I’ve had a really tough week. I’m always on the verge of tears and then I keep going. Before I came here, I wondered what I was doing here. But if I had not performed here, I would have felt bad too.”
Leerdam said she was happy with the victory that she had ‘ticked off’, but also indicated that that was not the most important thing. “I have to focus on my match. It also went wrong on the 500 meters, but it doesn’t really matter to me if I’m very honest. But I wanted this one (the 1,000 meters, ed.) just win. Also for my mother. Because I don’t want her to think I drove off. She would really hate that. So I just do my thing and that’s fine. It’s just fine that way. On to next week.”
On Instagram, Leerdam dedicated another post to her sick mother: “Eighteenth time gold. This one is for the strongest woman in the world, my mother.”