Speed skater Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands set an Olympic record in the women’s 1500m final Monday morning en route to winning her sixth gold Olympic medal and 12th Olympic medal overall.
Wüst is now tied with Norwegian cross country skier Bjørn Dæhlie for the third-most Olympic medals of any Winter Olympian, male or female.
In her fifth Olympic appearance, Wüst posted a 1:53.28 time to break fellow Dutch speed skater Jorien ter Mors’ record set at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Wüst faced off against Canada’s Ivanie Blondin in the 12th round of competition, besting Blondin by over three seconds.
Her record and Olympic victory were threatened in the final matchup between the ROC’s Elizaveta Golubeva and world-record holder Miho Takagi of Japan. Takagi became the first woman to skate under a minute, 50 seconds in 2019 when she set the world record of 1:49.84 at this distance.
Takagi finished .44 seconds off Wüst’s winning time to take silver. The Japanese skater was the only other athlete besides Wüst to finish under 1:54 in Beijing.
American Brittany Bowe finished 10th with a time of 1:55.81. Bowe served as one of two flagbearers during the Opening Ceremony, filling in for bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor who was in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
Who is the most decorated Winter Olympian in history?
Ireen Wüst holds the claim as the first athlete to win an individual gold medal at five different Olympics, summer or winter.
As if that weren’t enough, the 35 year old became the oldest speed skating gold medalist in Olympic history.
Wüst is also distinguished as the most decorated Dutch Olympian, LGBTQ Olympian and Olympic speed skater.
This sixth gold medal surpassed legendary swimmer Austraian swimmer Ian Thorpe for most gold medals by an LGBTQ Olympian.
Wüst has 12 Olympic medals to her name, three more than Germany’s Claudia Pechstein who sits in second on the speed skating all-time medal list with nine.