The Associated Press GANGNEUNG (AP) — An all-orange medal podium isn’t really that surprising at the Olympic speed skating oval anymore. After all, the Dutch had four sweeps at the Sochi Games four years ago.
But to see Carlijn Achtereekte towering over two-time 3,000-meter champion Ireen Wust and her anointed successor Antoinette de Jong, that was stunning indeed.
In another jaw-dropping performance from the Dutch on the first day of the Olympic speedskating program, they already raised expectations that their record 23-medal haul from Sochi could be within reach.
“It is incredible to have three of the girls on the podium,” said Achtereekte, an early starter who waited and watched in disbelief for an hour as none of her rivals could match her time.
By then, she was in the stands with her dad Gerard, who quickly had a premonition his daughter would fly home with gold — a color of medal she had never won at a major championship.
“I sat with my dad and he was totally crazy,” she said. “He already acted as if I got gold and I had to tell him, ‘There are still three races to go.’ I needed to calm my father more that I had to calm myself.”
Considering her stature in a star-filled team, some giddy feelings were in order. Sidestepped by the media for bigger favorites, she was able to prepare in peace, setting precise lap targets that she met almost to perfection. Speech