Ireen Wust became the most successful Olympic speed skater in history with 12 medals on Monday after sweeping round the Beijing oval to retain her title and win gold in the Winter Games 1,500 meters by just under half a second.

Victory put the Netherlands' most decorated Olympian ahead of Germany's Claudia Pechstein, who won five skating golds, and tied her with USSR skater Lidia Skoblikova who won six.

Wust's 12 medals also put her joint third on the list for most podium finishes for men or women at the Winter Olympics.