The Netherlands won all four women’s events at the world short track speed skating championships and became the first nation other than China and South Korea to top the gold-medal standings outright at a fully attended worlds in at least 25 years.
The Dutch, historically the most successful nation in long-track speed skating, were led on the smaller oval by Xandra Velzeboer, who won the 500m (in a Dutch medals sweep) and 1000m over the weekend.
Worlds were at Mokdong Ice Rink, the longtime hub of South Korean skating in Seoul.
Suzanne Schulting, the two-time reigning Olympic 1000m champion, won the 1500m. The Dutch also won the women’s relay and the mixed relay for five gold medals total.
“We dominated this competition,” Schulting said, according to the International Skating Union. “It’s very special to see how Xandra dealt with all the pressure here as well. To speak for myself, I’m just done and feeling empty.”
South Korea was second with two golds, both from Park Ji-Won (men’s 1000m and 1500m).
Park is unique. At 26, he has never competed in the Olympics, yet this World Cup season was the world’s top male skater after not competing on the top international level since February 2020.
“I’m the best out there, and I’ll try to keep this status for a long time,” Park said, according to the ISU. “I know the king’s crown weighs heavy, but I’m going to take on this burden and continue to race like nobody has ever done before.”
Come the next Olympics in 2026, Park will be older than any previous South Korean to compete in an individual short track event at a Winter Games, according to Olympedia.org.
Corinne Stoddard posted the top American finish at worlds — fifth in the 500m. The U.S. last won a world medal in 2014.
Italy, the 2026 Winter Olympic host, was without Arianna Fontana, the record 11-time Olympic short track medalist who took this season off. Fontana, who made her Olympic debut at the 2006 Torino Games at age 15, was expected to return for the 2023-24 season, her representative said in December.
In her absence, Pietro Sighel gave Italy its first Olympic or world title in a men’s event since 1999 (Fabio Carta), taking the 500m.
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk