Saturday 15 May 2021

Wüst makes history as Netherlands claims two more skating medals

Ireen Wüst celebrates winning the 1500m. Photo: Vadim Ghirda/AP

Speed skater Ireen Wüst won her fifth Olympic title in dramatic fashion as Dutch skaters claimed three of the top four places in the women’s 1500 metres.

Wüst’s victory makes her the most decorated speed skater of all time, with 10 medals altogether. Only swimmer Michael Phelps and sprinter Carl Lewis have won more individual gold medals at the Olympics.

Wüst was the first of the Dutch team to skate in Pyeongchang, setting a time of 1:54.35. With one race to go her team-mates Marrit Leenstra and Lotte van Beek were in second and third places, but the Dutch were denied a clean sweep as Japan’s Miho Takagi snatched the silver in a time just 0.2 seconds slower than Wüst.

The victory made up for Wüst’s disappointment in the 3000 metres final on Sunday when she was surprisingly edged out by team-mate Carlijn Achtereekte as the Netherlands won all three medals.

She told NOS: ‘I won my first gold medal exactly 12 years ago but to have five feels unreal. It’s come full circle, it’s a dream come true.’

Leenstra, who edged out Van Beek for the bronze by 0.01 seconds, said she was relieved to win a medal after a string of fourth places in major championships.

‘It’s not gold, which is always what you’re aiming for, but I’m just so glad to finally get on the podium,’ she said.

Wüst can add to her medal tally in the 1000 metres on Wednesday and the team pursuit next week.

Earlier snowboarder Cheryl Maas finished in a disappointing 23rd place after falling on both runs of the slopestyle final.

Strong winds delayed the event by 75 minutes, but Maas questioned whether the competition should have gone ahead at all. ‘These are no conditions to compete in. Nobody knew whether they’d make their landing or how far they could get.’

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