Ireen Wüst Is First Out Medalist at This Year's Olympics

Dutch speed skaters

Above, from left: Ireen Wüst with fellow Dutch medalists Carlijn Achtereekte and Antoinette de Jong. AP Photo/John Locher

Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands has become the first out LGBT athlete to win a medal at this year’s Winter Olympics, taking a silver in the 3,000-meter speed skating event Saturday.

Wüst, who won gold in the event at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, barely missed out on another gold in the PyeongChang Games in South Korea, Reuters reports. She lost by a fraction of a second to teammate Carlijn Achtereekte  Antoinette de Jong won the bronze for a sweep of the event by the Netherlands.

The silver was still good enough to tie Wüst for first in Olympic medals among speech skaters. The bisexual Dutchwoman now has nine career medals, as does Germany’s Claudia Pechstein, according to Reuters. The record of nine medals – four gold, four silver, and one bronze – is also the most of any out LGBT Olympian, Outsports notes.

Wüst led for most of the event but slowed down in the final lap, leading to her nea r-miss on the gold.  ”I think I had a really strong beginning of the race,  she told Reuters. “I raced for the gold, not for silver or bronze. I went really well, only the last lap was really hard. In the end I was so close, but it’s not good enough. I have to be satisfied with the silver, although it hurts a little bit.”  

A first-place finish would have made Wüst the first Dutch Olympian to win five gold medals, but she will get to try for that goal again in the 1,500-meter on Monday. The 31-year-old skater, who will retire after this year’s games, said her dream is to win gold in all the Olympics in which she’s competed, and she’s done that in the first three – Turin, Vancouver, and Sochi.

“I‘m always determined for gold but maybe now a little extra,” she told Reuters.

Tags: Sports, Olympics

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