Netherland’s Ter Mors skates to glory in women’s 1,000m

A 1,500m and team pursuit gold medallist at Sochi 2014, Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands claimed the women’s 1,000m gold at PyeongChang 2018 on Wednesday 14 February. It was a victory that gave her country a record-equalling fourth Olympic gold medal in the event.

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Skating in the fifth-last pair with the USA’s Brittany Bowe, and with compatriot Ireen Wust’s time of 1:15.32 to aim at, Ter Mors powered to a new Olympic record of 1:13.56. Bowe went 0.80 seconds slower to nudge, momentarily, into the silver medal position.

Going out in the penultimate pair, Nao Kodaira of Japan, the world record holder at the distance, was on course to eclipse Ter Mors at the final split but could not sustain her momentum in the closing metres, and finished 0.26 seconds outside the leader’s time to claim the silver.

Miho Takagi of Japan stopped the clock in the third-last heat at 1:13.98 to take the bronze, with Bowe eventually placing just behind her in fourth. Ten-time Olympic medallist Wust, a 1,500m winner on Monday 12 February, ended ninth.

Earlier, defending Olympic champion Zhang Hong had looked set to beat Wust’s time until catching a skate tip in the ice towards the end of her heat, a stumble that ended her hopes of a second consecutive gold in the event.

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Her country’s flagbearer at Sochi 2014, where she became the first Olympic speed skater to also compete in short track events, the 28-year-old Ter Mors missed out on selection for the 1,500m this time around and has struggled with injuries this season, setbacks that made her 1,000m gold taste all the sweeter.

“I’m so happy to be here as Olympic champion. It means a lot,” said the Dutch skater, the 2016 1,000m and 1,500m world champion, afterwards. “I had a lot of struggles at the beginning of the season and made some changes towards the Olympics, which paid off.”

Her victory means the Netherlands have now won the last seven speed skating events at the Olympic Winter Games: the last two at Sochi 2014 and the first five at PyeongChang 2018.

“I’m very pleased with this medal,” said Kodaira. “The Dutch skaters are still better and stronger than us, but we are coming and we have room to improve and we can challenge them.”

“In the 1,500m I was at full energy, but the energy is gone now,” said compatriot Takagi, whose bronze was her second of PyeongChang 2018, after her silver behind Wust in the 1,500m. “I recognise there were two better skaters there today.”

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