Michel Mulder, Olympic speed skating champion by .01, retires at 33
Michel Mulder, the speed skater who led a Dutch 500m sweep at the Sochi Olympics, reportedly retired at age 33.
Mulder said recent poor performances -- including failing to make the deep Dutch team for February’s world championships -- led to the decision, according to Dutch broadcaster NOS.
Mulder won the 2014 Olympic 500m by .01 of a second over countryman Jan Smeekens. The two-run event may be best remembered for Smeekens at first being listed as the winner, only for the time to be corrected moments later, likely due to a faulty leg transponder. Twin brother Ronald Mulder, who is 10 minutes older than Michel, took bronze, .15 of a second behind.
Mulder became the first athlete from the Netherlands to win an Olympic 500m, the only individual distance the skating-crazed nation had yet to capture. In all, the Netherlands won half of the 14 speed skating events in Sochi, and 16 of the 42 medals.
Mulder followed up by taking silver at the 2015 World Championships, but then finished sixth in the 2018 Dutch Olympic trials, failing to earn the right to defend his Olympic title. He last made a World Cup podium nearly two years ago.
Ronald Mulder was the Netherlands’ top finisher in PyeongChang in seventh place, .42 behind Norwegian gold medalist Havard Lorentzen in a one-run event.
A Dutch man hasn’t won a World Cup 500m in either of the last two seasons.
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