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Michel Mulder, Olympic speed skating champion by .01, retires at 33

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Michel Mulder, the speed skater who led a Dutch 500m sweep at the Sochi Olympics, reportedly retired at age 33.

Mulder said recent poor performances — including failing to make the deep Dutch team for February’s world championships — led to the decision, according to Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Mulder won the 2014 Olympic 500m by .01 of a second over countryman Jan Smeekens. The two-run event may be best remembered for Smeekens at first being listed as the winner, only for the time to be corrected moments later, likely due to a faulty leg transponder. Twin brother Ronald Mulder, who is 10 minutes older than Michel, took bronze, .15 of a second behind.

Mulder became the first athlete from the Netherlands to win an Olympic 500m, the only individual distance the skating-crazed nation had yet to capture. In all, the Netherlands won half of the 14 speed skating events in Sochi, and 16 of the 42 medals.

Mulder followed up by taking silver at the 2015 World Championships, but then finished sixth in the 2018 Dutch Olympic trials, failing to earn the right to defend his Olympic title. He last made a World Cup podium nearly two years ago.

Ronald Mulder was the Netherlands’ top finisher in PyeongChang in seventh place, .42 behind Norwegian gold medalist Havard Lorentzen in a one-run event.

A Dutch man hasn’t won a World Cup 500m in either of the last two seasons.

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Brittany Bowe breaks record shared with Bonnie Blair, Heather Bergsma

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Brittany Bowe broke a record she shared with Bonnie Blair and Heather Bergsma by winning her seventh straight World Cup 1000m on Saturday in Nagano, Japan.

Bowe clocked 1:14.344, taking the track record from Olympic silver medalist Nao Kodaira and distancing Olympic bronze medalist Miho Takagi and Dutchwoman Sanneke de Neeling by .55.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, is averaging better than a half-second margin of victory during her streak dating to last season, a significant gap to the rest of the field. She lowered track records in six of her seven wins, plus broke the world record and added a world championships gold.

“I’ve got a lot of losses under my belt. With how sweet the wins are, the losses are just as tough,” Bowe told Dutch broadcaster NOS. “There are some races that I’m not pleased with, and I’d like to be on the top of that 1500m podium. So that one’s keeping me hungry.”

Bowe, a past world champion and former world-record holder at 1500m, last won at that distance in February.

Her latest 1000m victory broke a tie with Blair and Bergsma for the U.S. record for consecutive women’s World Cup 1000m victories, according to schaatsstatistieken.nl. Blair won all six of her World Cup 1000m starts in the 1993-94 Olympic season, while Bergsma took six straight in 2016-17.

Only German Anni Friesinger-Postma has more consecutive World Cup wins at the distance with eight in the 2007-08 season, according to the website. For the men, Shani Davis won 12 straight from 2008-10.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 26 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Blair (69), Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

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MORE: Shani Davis retires, takes new role in speed skating

Brittany Bowe’s win streak eclipses one year

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Brittany Bowe earned her sixth straight World Cup 1000m victory on Friday, running her win streak past a full year.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, clocked 1:14.28 in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, beating Russian Daria Kachanova by .47. PyeongChang gold and silver medalists Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands and Nao Kodaira of Japan were eighth and fourth, respectively.

For the first time during her win streak, which also included a world championships gold in February, Bowe failed to lower the track record. She was .18 shy of her own mark in Nur-Sultan.

Bowe ended last season by breaking the world record by .48 on the fast ice of the 2002 Olympic oval in Kearns, Utah. That time — 1:11.61 — would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1997.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 25 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

The Nur-Sultan World Cup continues Saturday and Sunday, streaming live for NBC Sports Gold subscribers. Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA airs same-day delayed coverage on Friday (6 p.m. ET), Saturday (11:30 p.m.) and Sunday (7:30 p.m.).

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