GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Anybody who thought the Dutch could never be as dominant again had to think again after Day 1 of the speedskating competition. They already have their first sweep of the Pyeongchang Games.
The biggest surprise was Carlijn Achtereekte, who is not known for winning the big one.
The 28-year-old even had to start in the first part of the program among the also-rans. Amazingly she went under 4 minutes, which only two other women had done at sea level, and her time of 3 minutes 59.21 seconds was good for gold.
The event was set to give Ireen Wust a third 3,000 Olympic gold but with a struggling final lap, she finished .08 seconds behind Achtereekte.
Bronze went to Antoinette de Jong for the sweep.
By the time the final competitor crossed the line, Achtereekte had already visited her family and then watched as all the other times fell short.
"The nerves made me crazy. And then I saw 8 hundreds over Wust. I can't get my head around it," she told NOS Dutch broadcaster.
Immediately after the race, instead of packing up with yet another good but not outstanding race, she got a cuddle and was joking on the infield with her king, Willem-Alexander.
"The athletes took me into account, but not the press and media," she said. "I love that role. I'm good at laying down a time. I managed that now and it has paid off."
Achtereekte's only other global medal was a 3,000 silver at the 2015 world championships.
Wust long looked poised to stay within her teammate as her floated over the ice. She went into the last lap with a gap of a second. It was not enough for her, as technique gave way to fatigue.
"On that last lap the man with the hammer arrived. The race was a lap too far," said Wust. "Carlijn was better today."
To make it an even better day, at the short-track rink Sjinkie Knegt won silver in the 1,500.
It immediately put the Dutch atop the medal standings, and the fans in orange were celebrating.
In Sochi four years ago, the Netherlands won 23 of 36 medals.