All or nothing for the women’s 3000m in speed skating

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The women’s 3000m was the first speed skating event of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Traditionally, the Netherlands is very strong at this event, and today’s race was no exception.

Going into the final pair, Carlijn Achtereekte, Ireen Wuest and Antoinette de Jong were in position to sweep the event. However, they had to watch three-time Olympic Champion Martina Sablikova skate in the final heat. Sablikova challenged down the stretch, but fell short of breaking up the Dutch sweep with a time of 4:00.54, which was good for fourth place.   

Carlijn Achtereekte turned out a race of a lifetime. She was ranked 21st in the event after the World Cup and was making her Olympic debut in the event. She was not expected to medal however looked fast from the start of her race.  Achtereekte finished with a time of 3:59.21 missing a track record by just .16 of a second. She beat three Olympic champions in the event (Wuest, Sablikova and Claudia Pechstein).

Two noteworthy milestones were reached in the event. Pechstein became the first woman to compete at seven Winter Olympics. Wuest won her ninth Olympic medal, tying Pechstein for the all-time record for career speed skating medals.

The sole American skater was Carlijn Schoutens. She grew up in the Netherlands but moved back to the United States in 2016 in hopes of qualifying for the Olympics as a member of Team USA and did so after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials. She faced off against Canadian Brianne Tutt in her heat. Schoutens was eight seconds off the pace halfway through her race, so she never really had a chance to medal.