How Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust made history with Olympic gold at five different Games



The Olympics are only three days old and already history is being made. Ireen Wust, already one of the best speed skaters in the pantheon of the sport, set another standard Monday.

The 35-year old Dutchwoman won the 1,500 meters, becoming the first athlete ever to win individual gold medals in five different Olympic games.

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She also set an Olympic record in the process when she skated to a time of 1:53.28, beating the mark her countrywoman Jorien ter Mors established in Sochi eight years ago by 0.23 seconds. 

Wust held off the world record holder, Miho Takagi of Japan, who finished in 1:53.72. Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands took bronze with a time of 1:54.82. 

At 35, Wust became the oldest speed skating gold medalist ever and confirmed she plans to retire after this season.

Sporting News takes a look at her career accomplishments and where she stacks up against other Olympians.

Ireen Wust career records

Wust is among the most decorated athletes competing in Beijing. She has 12 total Olympic medals, including six golds dating to her first appearance in 2006.

Those 12 medals are the most of any Dutch Olympian in any sport at either the Summer or Winter Games. She also has the most hardware of any athlete, male or female, to compete in speed skating of any discipline.

MORE: Overall medal count for 2022 Winter Olympics

She won her first gold in Turin in 2006 when she was just 19, becoming the youngest Dutch Olympian to take home gold. With her 2022 win, she became the oldest speed skater to win gold as well.

Her 12 Olympic medals are tied for third most for any Winter Olympian, behind three Norwegians: cross-country skier Marit Bjorgen (15 total, eight gold), biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen (13 total, eight gold) and cross-country skier Bjorn Daehlie (12 total, eight gold).

Wust has two events left in Beijing, so she could move into sole possession of second on the all-time list before bowing out.

Olympic gold at four different Games

Wust is making headlines for becoming the first athlete to win individual gold at five different Olympic Games starting with her first in Turn in 2006 and including her most recent in 2022 in Beijing.

Here are the other athletes to win individual gold in at least four different Games, via NBC Sports:

Name (Country) Sport Gold medals (Years Won) Total Olympic medals (Golds)
Ireen Wust (NED) Speed Skating 6 (2006, ’10, ’14, ’18, ’22)  12 (6 gold)
Michael Phelps (USA) Swimming 23 (2004, ’08, ’12, ’16) 28 (23)
Carl Lewis (USA) Track and Field 9 (1984, ’88, ’92, ’96) 10 (9)
Al Oerter (USA) Discus 4 (1956, ’60, ’64, ’68) 4 (4)
Mijaín Lopez (CUB) Greco-Roman wrestling 4 (2008, ’12, ’16, ’20) 4 (4)
Kaori Icho (JPN) Freestyle wrestling 4 (2004, ’08, ’12, ’16) 4 (4)
Ben Ainslie (UK) Sailing 4 (2000, ’04, ’08, ’12) 5 (4)
Paul Elvstrom (DEN) Sailing 4 (1948, ’52, ’56, ’60) 4 (4)





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