Sochi Sports Round-Up: Wüst "nowhere near done"
Ireen Wüst, the Dutch skater, has won her third gold medal as she triumphed on Sunday at the Olympic 3000 meters. Wüst now equals Yvonne van Gennip and Marianne Timmer with gold medals at the Winter Games, a Dutch record for women. "The lists are for later", she laughingly said after winning her three kilometers. "I am nowhere near done." Wüst also became the first Dutch athlete who won gold at three consecutive Winter Olympics. The TVM skater, who will take the stage solo at the 1000, 15000 and 5000 meters, does admit that three consecutive gold medals is a pretty unique performance. "But the Games have only just begun. I don't want to look back too much yet."
She still wants to plough on for one more gold medal, which will put her ahead of her current gold-medal-equals Van Gennip and Timmer. "I definitely need one more, I will do my best for that as well." Becoming a legend on the way isn't necessarily a goal for Wüst. "I just want to show the best of myself here. In this form I definitely still want to go for more gold. In the end, you get nice lists, but that is not my motivation at this moment." But Ireen Wüst is, thanks to her triumph at the 3000 meters, the most successful female Dutch skater of all time at the Olympics. She now has three golds and one bronze medals. In this way, she has overtaken both Van Gennip and Timmer, who both have three gold medals but never took silver or bronze. The most successful Dutch skater at the Games is Ard Schenk, with three golds and one silver plaque. For short-track speed skaters, there is also a lot of hope. The sport, called the 'little brother' of long-track speed racing, is going into its seventh Olympic games. Cees Juffermans, old short-tracker, tells NUsport he has high hopes for Sjinkie Knegt and Niels Kerstholt for the 1500 meters.
"I expect a lot from the Dutch men at the 1500 meters. They can definitely look towards semi-finals and finals, but it's difficult to predict if they will win a medal. That also depends, of course, on who you encounter on the way to the final and what happens in that final", Juffermans says. Juffermans admits that Canada is a bigger favorite to win than the Netherlands, but does contend that it would be a great step for short-track in the Netherlands to win a medal. "That would be very important for sports in our country. The short-track has developed greatly in the Netherlands in the last few years, also with steadily bigger tournaments like EC's and WC's that come to our country. We finally realize what the potential of this sport is. A medal would help that development further. We were also very close to that in the past. It's just time that we rake one in now." For snowboarder Cheryl Maas, sunday was a dramatic day as she lost a place in the final. The Dutch athlete wiped out in three earlier qualification runs, and had a fourth and final chance to place herself in the final, but the try went out of hand as she slipped on the rails. Earlier on Sunday, Maas also slipped during her first run of the day. This also happened twice on Thursday during the first qualifier day.