Olympic speed skating gold medalist switches sports

Carlijn Achtereekte
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Carlijn Achtereekte, the 2018 Olympic 3000m speed skating champion for the Netherlands, has switched sports to road cycling.

‘I’m done with skating, but I am not yet done with top sport,” the 32-year-old Achtereekte said, according to her new team, Jumbo-Visma, which was also her speed skating club the previous five years before her contract ended in April. “I’m ambitious, and I’m not going to ride just for the fun of it, but it’s something completely new.”

In a surprise, Achtereekte won the first speed skating gold medal of the PyeongChang Winter Games as part of a Dutch podium sweep. She had two prior individual World Cup podiums from more than three years earlier.

She made the 2022 Olympic team as the third and final Dutch skater in the 3000m at trials, then placed seventh in Beijing.

Other speed skating champions also doubled as cyclists.

Most notably, five-time 1980 Olympic gold medalist Eric Heiden took part in the 1986 Tour de France. Canadian Clara Hughes won Olympic medals in road cycling and speed skating. Czech Martina Sablikova, arguably the greatest female distance skater in history, finished 12th in the time trial at the 2015 World Road Cycling Championships.

“I have always had a passion for cycling. I sometimes thought: why don’t I do that? But skating went well and that’s what I focused on,” Achtereekte said, according to Jumbo-Visma. “Now I get the chance to develop into a professional cyclist and I am very grateful for that. I am eager and ambitious.

“It will be a matter of trial and error. As a skater, you ride in your own lane and you aren’t bothered by anyone. Now I have to learn to deal with the peloton’s nervousness and fight for my position. That will take some getting used to, but I assume that I will learn those skills quickly. I’m going to copy the art of my teammates and hope that I can play a role in the service of the team.”

The Netherlands has long been the strongest nation in women’s road cycling. Annemiek van Vleuten and the now-retired Anna van der Breggen combined to win five medals between the time trial and road race over the last two Olympics.

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Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Olympic 400m champion, announces pregnancy

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Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, the two-time reigning Olympic 400m champion, announced she is pregnant with her first child.

“New Year, New Blessing,” she posted on social media with husband Maicel Uibo, the 2019 World Championships silver medalist in the decathlon for Estonia. “We can’t wait to meet our little bundle of joy.”

Miller-Uibo, 28, followed her repeat Olympic title in Tokyo by winning her first world indoor and outdoor titles last year.

Also last year, Miller-Uibo said she planned to drop the 400m and focus on the 200m going into the 2024 Paris Games rather than possibly bid to become the first woman to win the same individual Olympic running event three times.

She has plenty of experience in the 200m, making her world championships debut in that event in 2013 and placing fourth. She earned 200m bronze at the 2017 Worlds, was the world’s fastest woman in the event in 2019 and petitioned for a Tokyo Olympic schedule change to make a 200m-400m double easier. The petition was unsuccessful.

She did both races anyway, finishing last in the 200m final, 1.7 seconds behind the penultimate finisher on the same day of the 400m first round.

She did not race the 200m at last July’s worlds, where the 200m and 400m overlapped.

Notable moms to win individual Olympic sprint titles include American Wilma Rudolph, who swept the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the 1960 Rome Olympics two years after having daughter Yolanda.

And Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won four gold medals at the 1948 London Olympics, when the mother of two also held world records in the high jump and long jump, two events in which she didn’t compete at those Games.

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Germany goes 1-2 at bobsled worlds; Kaillie Humphries breaks medals record

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Kim Kalicki and Lisa Buckwitz gave Germany a one-two in the world bobsled championships two-woman event, while American Kaillie Humphries earned bronze to break the career medals record.

Kalicki, who was fourth at last year’s Olympics and leads this season’s World Cup standings, edged Buckwitz by five hundredths of a second combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Humphries, with push athlete Kaysha Love, was 51 hundredths behind.

Olympic champion Laura Nolte was in third place after two runs but crashed in the third run.

Humphries, 37 and a three-time Olympic champion between two-woman and monobob, earned her eighth world championships medal in the two-woman event. That broke her tie for the record of seven with retired German Sandra Kiriasis. Humphries is also the most decorated woman in world championships monobob, taking gold and silver in the two times it has been contested.

Humphries rolled her ankle after the first day of last week’s monobob, plus took months off training in the offseason while also doing two rounds of IVF.

“I chose to continue the IVF journey through the season which included a Lupron Depot shot the day before this race began,” she posted after her monobob silver last weekend. “My weight and body fluctuating all year with hormones, it was a battle to find my normal while competing again. I’m happy with this result, I came into it wanting a podium and we achieved it as a team.”

Love, who was seventh with Humphries in the Olympic two-woman event, began her transition to become a driver after the Games.

Worlds finish Sunday with the final two runs of the four-man event.

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