Japan's women captured the team pursuit gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics, beating the defending champion Netherlands on Wednesday.
The world record-holding Japanese trio of sisters Miho and Nana Takagi and Ayano Sato defeated the Dutch in the gold medal race, winning in an Olympic-record 2 minutes, 53.89 seconds at Gangneung Oval.
The Dutch finished in 2:55.48 in the final to earn silver. The same Dutch trio of Marrit Leenstra, Ireen Wust and Antoinette de Jong had raced to the previous Olympic-record 2:55.61 in qualifying on Monday.
The gold medal was Japan's third at the Pyeongchang Games after triumphs in men's figure skating by Yuzuru Hanyu and women's 500-meter speed skating by Nao Kodaira. Miho Takagi's gold was her third medal at these games, having won silver in the 1,500 meters and bronze in the 1,000.
Japan has now won 11 medals at a single Olympic Winter Games for the first time, breaking its record of 10 set at Nagano 1998.
"I was able to skate this way because of these teammates and because we were in this Olympic tournament," said Miho Takagi, who had been a gold medal favorite in the 1,500. "As an individual, I lacked the strength to win the 1,500, but as a team, we could do it."
The United States defeated Canada in the "B" final to secure the bronze medal.
Ayaka Kikuchi and the Takagi sisters had sent Japan into the gold medal race with a win over Canada in their semifinal with a time of 2:58.94.
"It wasn't just the four of us who skated here today, but all five members of our team who have come together this season," Nana Takagi, the older of the two sisters said. "It's not even just us, but the support of the entire Japanese national team that made this possible."
Japan trailed the Dutch before seizing the lead on the fifth lap and holding on for gold in a thrilling finish.
"Just after we crossed the finish line, I realized we had beaten the Dutch and the way I celebrated by punching the air said it all," said Miho Takagi.
Kikuchi said, "This is the best day of my skating career. I could only watch the final and just wanted to support the team after the semis. But it was a cliffhanger and I felt like I was out there with them."
The last time Japan won a gold medal in a team event at the Winter Games was in Nagano, when its ski jumping team triumphed on home soil.
In the men's pursuit final, host South Korea had to settle for silver, finishing 1.20 seconds back of Norway's gold medal-winning team. The Netherlands' men captured the bronze medal, defeating New Zealand in the "B" final.
Japan's men finished fifth after Italy's team was disqualified in the race for fifth place.