The Japanese Olympic team returned home Monday after claiming a record 13 medals at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Team captain Nao Kodaira and men's figure skating champion Yuzuru Hanyu were among the 78 athletes who arrived at Narita airport, east of Tokyo, aboard a chartered jet.

Hanyu smiled and posed for photos alongside 500-meter speed skating gold medalist Kodaira, while the Takagi sisters, Miho and Nana, who together won gold as part of the women's pursuit team, also appeared relaxed.

Speaking at a press conference following the team's arrival, Hanyu, who entered the games under an injury cloud, credited his fans for spurring him to a second straight gold medal.

"Winning two consecutive Olympic championships was really challenging, but I think having so much support is what made it possible," the 23-year-old said.

Miho Takagi, who also won silver and bronze in the 1,500 meters and 1,000 meters, respectively, expressed gratitude to the many people who helped her succeed at the games.

"A lot of people gave me strength, which allowed me to achieve these results. I'm very grateful," she said.

At the Feb. 9-25 Winter Games, Japan won four gold, five silver and four bronze medals, breaking its previous record medal haul of 10 at the 1998 Nagano Games.

The medal haul in South Korea surpassed the target set by the Japanese Olympic Committee of nine medals in Pyeongchang, one better than the eight won at the 2014 Sochi Games.


Hanyu became the first figure skater in 66 years to win back-to-back golds in the men's event. In addition to her 500-meter gold, Kodaira secured silver in the 1,000 meters.

After entering the games with less media attention than her accomplished younger sister, Nana Takagi emerged from the shadows by winning the inaugural women's mass start to become the first Japanese woman to win multiple gold medals at a Winter Olympics.

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