GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) – Dutch skater Jorien ter Mors bounced back spectacularly from an injury-plagued season by claiming a gold medal in the Olympic women’s 1,000 meters at the Gangneung Oval on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old set an Olympic record of one minute, 13.56 seconds to finish ahead of world record holder Nao Kodaira of Japan whose compatriot Miho Takagi took the bronze medal.
Ter Mors, who won gold in the 1,500m at Sochi four years ago, did not defend that title in South Korea after failing to qualify in the distance due to a persistent knee injury.
She showed no signs of any lingering after-effects as she zoomed around the track in the shorter race to shave 0.27 seconds of the Olympic record.
Dutch skaters have now topped the podium in all five speed skating events held so far, and they increased their tally to nine medals from an available 15.
The Dutch claimed 23 of 36 medals at the Sochi Games, and their dominance only seems to increase with each race in South Korea.
Kodaira, who came into the race as the heavy favorite after winning three of four World Cup events in a stellar season last year that included breaking the world record, will be disappointed by her second-placed finish.
But the two medals claimed by the Japanese skaters, including a second of the Games for Takagi after her silver in the 1,500, proved why the country is tipped to become a future speed skating powerhouse.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings, editing by Ed Osmond)