Netherlands speed skater Schouten wins mass start gold; USA’s Kilburg fourth

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Netherlands speed skater Schouten wins mass start gold; USA's Kilburg fourth Irene Schouten of the Netherlands earned a late lead to capture a narrow win in the 2022 Winter Games speed skating mass start final Saturday in Beijing. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 19 (UPI) — Irene Schouten of the Netherlands won her third gold medal of the 2022 Winter Games by beating Canadian Ivanie Blondin and Italian Francesca Lollobrigida in the women’s speed skating mass start final Saturday in Beijing.

Schouten crossed the finish line just six-hundredths of a second ahead of Blondin at the National Speed Skating Oval. She previously won the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter finals in Beijing. She also captured a silver medal in the team pursuit.

“My dream was after these Games to be called an Olympic champion, and now I am a three-time champion” Schouten told NBC.

“I am living the dream.”

Team USA’s Mia Kilburg placed fourth in Saturday’s sprint. Kim Bo-reum of South Korea finished fifth. Team USA’s Giorgia Birkeland placed 12th.

Schouten and Blondin were tight down the stretch, before Schouten got a final push. Blondin held the lead at the final turn. Schouten then chased her down over the last 100 meters.

Schouten claimed bronze in the mass start at the 2018 Winter Games. Japan’s Nana Takagi and South Korean Kim Bo-reum earned respective gold and silver medals in that event in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Silver medalist Jutta Leerdam of the Netherlands (L), gold medalist Miho Takagi of Japan (C) and bronze medalist Brittany Bowe of the USA stand together for a ceremony in the women’s 1000 meter speed skating competition at the Beijing Winter Olympics on February 17. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo

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