|Date||7 February 2022 — 16:30|
|Location||National Speed Skating Oval, Olympic Green, Beijing|
|Participants||30 from 16 countries|
The 7th of February had long been marked in the calendar of Ireen Wüst. The five-time Olympic champion and winner of 11 Olympic medals had planned to retire after her fifth Olympics but was hoping to go out with another gold medal in her top event. Having won 26 World Cups, five world titles and two Olympic golds in the 1,500 m, defending champion Wüst was undeniably one of favorites. Her main challenger was considered to be Japan’s Miho Takagi, the 2018 silver medalist who had won all three 1,500 m World Cups in the 2021/22 season she contested. The fourth World Cup was won by Brittany Bowe, also the 2015 world champion, while surprise 2021 champion Ragne Wiklund was considered an outsider for the gold.
ROC’s Yevgeniya Lalenkova, world bronze medalist in 2021, produced the first 1:55 time of the day, with 1:55.74, which was soon improved by Marijke Groenewoud, a surprise qualifier for the Dutch team. In pair 11, that time was narrowly beaten by Antoinette de Jong with 1:54.82. De Jong had beaten Wüst to the European title in January, but Wüst wasn’t going to have that happen in Beijing. After opening in 25.51 (same as De Jong), she managed to keep her speed throughout the end, gradually building up a lead of 1.5 seconds and beating the Olympic Record with 1:53.28. That left three Dutch skaters in the lead with three pairs to go.
World Cup leader Ayano Sato matched the splits of De Jong, but crossed the finish line a tenth of a second later, just ahead of Groenwoud. In pair 14, Bowe and Wiklund both disappointed, with Bowe’s laptimes blowing up after a fast start, and Wiklund just never picking up sufficient speed. That left only Takagi and Yelizaveta Golubeva. The Japanese favorite had the fastest opening of the day but lost to Wüst in both subsequent laps. At the bell, she trailed the Dutchwoman by only 0.03, but her final lap was slightly worse, reaching 1:53.72 at the finish line.
Wüst’s sixth speed skating gold matched the record of Soviet Russian Lidiya Skoblikova, and improved her total number of speed skating medals to 12 (she would win a 13th in the team pursuit), confirming her status as both the most successful Olympic speed skater as well as that of most successful Dutch Olympian (regardless of season).
|Pos||Pair||Competitor||NOC||Time||300 m||700 m||1100 m|
|3||11I||Antoinette de Jong||NED||1:54.82||25.51||53.61||1:23.30||Bronze|
|28||3I||Sofie Karoline Haugen||NOR||2:01.57||27.14||56.65||1:28.00|