Republic of Korea win women’s 3,000m team relay gold
There were jubilant scenes at the Gangneung Oval on Tuesday 20 February, as Republic of Korea produced a lightning-fast last lap to retain the Olympic women’s speed skating 3,000m team relay title they won at Sochi 2014.
China led for most of the race, only for Choi Minyeong (ROK) to raise the noise levels from the home support by forging ahead on the last lap and secure a combined time of 4.07.361. China finsihed second but were later disqualified, allowing Italy to take silver with a time of 4.15.901.
Canada, who had won medals at every Olympic Winter Games in this event prior to PyeongChang 2018, were also disqualified, which meant the Netherland's victory in Final B, in which they set a world-record time of 4.03.471, saw them claim bronze.
Roared to victory
The 19-year-old Choi said she was proud of the performance and how the crowd urged the team on: "It was a great performance and winning here in front of our own crowd makes it much more meaningful. The crowd really cheered us on."
"It was a very long race and a lot was happening," said team-mate Shim Sukhee. "We had to calm down and trust each other and that's what made the gold medal."
Italy's Arianna Fontana said she was disappointed her team came up short in the battle for gold, but that they were delighted with their silver all the same. "I was ready to go in and do my two final laps as fast as I could," she said. "I wanted to fight. I was ready to pass. I was ready to do anything to bring home a medal.
"We found out in the end we'd got third. Then when it came out that we got silver we were even more happy and excited because at Sochi we came third. We are super happy, because this season we have struggled a little bit."
Suzanne Schulting said the Netherlands team were delighted with their bronze, and at breaking the world record: "We knew it could happen, but I don't think we really thought about it. We just wanted to skate really, really hard in the B Final and just do our best, and I think that is what we did.
"I think our main goal today was to skate the B Final as fast as we could and we came away with a world record, which showed we really deserved the bronze medal," added Lara van Ruijven. "It's amazing," added Jorien Ter Mors. "We wanted to show that we are really fast. We deserve this medal with that world record."
Ter Mors added bronze to her gold in the speed skating women's 1,000m. "It's really special," she said. "I hoped for it coming here into the Winter Games but after losing the semis, I didn't expect us to win a relay medal. It's really amazing to get a bronze medal and skate a world record in the B final."