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Staff writer

NAGANO — The Japanese crowd erupted in one overwhelming cheer, and his mother wept as Hiroyasu Shimizu set a new Olympic record in speedskating to take the gold medal. In the 35.59 seconds he took to complete his run, he became the first athlete to bring home a medal for the host country at the Nagano Winter Olympics. He also became the first-ever Japanese speedskater to strike gold.

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