Suzanne Schulting of the Netherlands claimed an unexpected short track speed skating gold in the women’s 1,000m at PyeongChang 2018, held at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Thursday 22 February. The 20-year-old led from the start to claim the Olympic title from Canada’s Kim Boutin and Arianna Fontana of Italy.
A veteran of the Winter Youth Olympic Games Innsbruck 2012, Schulting set the early pace in the final and held the lead at the start of the last lap, when Republic of Korea skaters Shim Suk-hee and Choi Min-jeong made their moves from the back of the field.
Shim and Choi came together on the penultimate bend, however, with both falling to the ice, leaving Schulting to speed home in a time of 1:29.778 and add gold to the 3,000m metre relay bronze she won earlier at PyeongChang 2018.
Boost for Dutch short track
“I really can’t believe it,” said the Dutch youngster. “It’s incredible that this just happened today. I was just enjoying the final to begin with and I think that’s why I won the gold. I’ve got it because of my team-mates. I wouldn’t be standing here without them. Dutch short track was at the bottom six years ago and now we are climbing so fast. I want to inspire all those young kids to do short track as well and make short track as big as long track is in the Netherlands.”
Boutin’s silver was her third medal at PyeongChang 2018, following her bronzes in the 500m and 1,500m, while Fontana’s bronze took her Olympic medal collection to eight, among them the gold she won in the 500m on 13 February.
“It’s just incredible,” said the Canadian. “I feel I did a lot of work, just to be consistent all the years. That was pretty unbelievable for me. I don’t know how to express it but I’m proud of myself, of all the work I did with all my teammates and all my staff. It’s just incredible. I know that I couldn’t do that alone.”
“It means a lot because the 1,000m is not my favourite distance at all,” said Fontana. “I trained really hard this season because I wanted to be here to try and do something good. My goal was to get in the final and I was already super happy and excited about that. It’s my first Olympic 1,000m final, so that was already a big goal for me.”