Esmee Visser claimed the women’s 5,000 metres speed skating gold medal here today as The Netherlands got back to winning ways at the Winter Olympic Games.
Visser clocked a time of 6min 50.23sec at the Gangneung Oval, beating two-time defending champion Martina Sáblíková of the Czech Republic by a margin of 1.62 seconds.
At 22 years and 20 days old, she becomes the second-youngest Olympic champion in the event after Germany's Claudia Pechstein, who, at the age of 45, finished eighth in the 12-strong field today.
Pechstein won the first of her three successive Olympic titles at Lillehammer 1994, three days after her 22nd birthday.
"I told myself to just enjoy the race, focus on how I skate and what I've done in training, then something is possible," Visser, who raced in the first pairing after the ice preparation break, said.
"But I never imagined this.
"I thought a podium would be good, I never thought about this.
"It feels amazing, I'm not realising it yet.
"I think it has to take a few more days, but it's amazing for now."
Olympic Athlete from Russia’s Natalia Voronina rounded out the podium in 6:53.98 as she finished 3.75 seconds off the pace for the bronze medal.
"It's a great pleasure for me and also a big surprise," she said.
"I can't believe I've won a medal."
The Netherlands’ Annouk van der Weijden and Canada’s Ivanie Blondin dropped to fourth and fifth place respectively after Voronina and Sáblíková, still troubled by a long-running back injury, posted their times in the final pairing.
Visser’s victory secures the Dutch their sixth gold medal from seven speed skating events at Pyeongchang 2018.
The only blemish on their record came yesterday, when Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen, born in The Netherlands, came out on top in the men’s 10,000m event.
Overall, the country has won 11 of the 21 medals awarded.
Speed skating medal action at Pyeongchang 2018 is due to resume on Sunday (February 18).
The women’s 500m event is scheduled to be held.