Nagano gold medalist Hiroyuki Shimizu retires

Former Japanese Olympic gold medalist Hiroyuki Shimizu has

retired from speed skating.

The 36-year-old Shimizu, who won the 500-meter gold at the 1998

Nagano Olympics, decided to retire after failing to make Japan’s

team for the Vancouver Games.

“I had a great career in the sport and would now like to help

young skaters realize their dreams,” Shimizu said Saturday at a

retirement ceremony.

Shimizu also won bronze in the 1,000 in Nagano and silver in the

500 at Salt Lake City in 2002. He has broken the 500 world record

four times and won 34 races in the 500 on the World Cup circuit,

third on the all-time list.

Keiichiro Nagashima and Joji Kato won the men’s 500 silver and

bronze medals, respectively, in Vancouver.