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Gold medal for Belgian speed skater at Beijing Winter Olympics
Skater Bart Swings earned his place in Belgium’s history books after winning the men’s mass start speedskating final at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Saturday.
He is the first Belgian to have won medals at two Olympic games, having picked up silver in the same event at the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics.
Starting as favourite in the final at Beijing on Saturday, the 31-year-old from Leuven finished the 16 laps with 63 sprint points, beating Chung Jae Won and Lee Seung Hoon of South Korea to take the gold medal.
The tactical and highly-entertaining mass start speeskating event sees up to 24 skaters face off against each other in a mad dash to complete 16 laps the fastest.
Said Swings after his victory: “What a race! I felt a little targeted… But I felt such strength in my legs that I told myself that I would not let go. I had a train of skaters, including all the sprinters, behind me. Three or four laps from the end, it was the worst for me because I wanted to prepare my sprint. And I got there,” reported La Libre.
Belgium had only won gold once before at the winter Olympics. Figure skating pair Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet took the top title at Saint-Moritz in 1948. The same games also saw Belgium take a second medal with the nation’s four-man bobsleigh winning silver.
Now Belgium has equalled this record of two medals in one edition thanks to the success in Beijing of Swings and Hanne Desmet's bronze medal in short-track (1000m).
Photo: Wikimedia commons ©Team IKO