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Dutch dominance continues on speedskating oval

Kjeld Nuis gives Netherlands its fourth gold in as many finals at Pyeongchang Olympics

AP

Four races, four gold medals for the Dutch speedskaters at the Olympic Oval.

Kjeld Nuis earned the latest on Tuesday, setting off at a blistering pace and sweeping past the early target of teammate Patrick Roest to win the men’s 1,500 meters.

“This is no longer normal,” Nuis said of his country’s dominance in Olympic speedskating.

The Dutch have now won eight of 12 medals at the Pyeongchang Games, keeping them on the stunning medal pace set at the 2014 Sochi Games when they finished with 23 out of 36.

Behind Nuis, the 22-year-old Roest raced with the ruthless abandon of an Olympic rookie and took silver, 0.85 seconds off the pace. Nuis won in 1 minute, 44.01 seconds.

The home crowd also had something to get excited about because 18-year-old Kim Min-seok took bronze (1:44.93).

Latvia’s Haralds Silovs placed fourth in 1:45.25 and Japan’s Takuro Oda finished fifth in 1:45.44.

The 1,500, however, was seriously affected by the exclusion of world-record holder Denis Yuskov as part of the Russian doping scandal.

It was an afterthought for those at the Oval.

Over a distance where racers either set off fast and try to hold on or pace themselves throughout, Nuis picked the first strategy and rode it to perfection.

“I knew how I was going to do this, and I did it,” he told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

As the cheers rang louder, it drove him onward, even when his legs started burning.

“I kept on pumping and even if the last corner was tough it didn’t matter anymore,” Nuis said. “I felt that I was the best.”

At the same time, Roest was already in the stands, over an hour after he had set the early lead. It almost was good enough for gold in his first Olympics.

“The nerves were continuing to roil,” Roest said. “It was a long wait.”

On the opening day, Carlijn Achtereekte won the 3,000 and Olympic champions Sven Kramer and Ireen Wust added the 5,000 and 1,500, respectively.

American skaters disappointed again with Joey Mantia finishing eighth and Shani Davis crossing in 19th position, leaving the United States with another bad start in the Olympics after they were shut out in Sochi.