Esmee Visser is surprise winner of 5,000 metres gold medal

Gold medalist Esmee Visser celebrates on the podium. Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Esmee Visser, skating in her first Olympics at the age of 21, beat one of the greats of women’s distance speed skating on Friday, clinching the 5,000 metres gold medal in a time of 6.50.23

‘It is really fantastic, I don’t know what to say,’ Visser said after her surprise victory.

The Czech Republic’s Martina Sábliková, who took the title in 2010 and 2014, won silver and Natalia Voronina of Russia the bronze.

Visser, who covered the distance 12 seconds slower at the Dutch championships in October, is not backed by a commercial team and has spent her time preparing for the games with junior skaters in Groningen, broadcaster NOS said.

Visser is only the second Dutch woman to win Olympic gold at the distance.  The first was Yvonne van Gennip at the Calgary Olympics 30 years ago.

The Netherlands has now won gold in six of the seven speed skating events so far.