Feb 7, 2022 - Sports

Speedskater Ireen Wüst becomes first athlete to win individual gold at 5 Olympics

Photo of Ireen Wüst in uniform speed skating on ice during a competition

Speedskater Ireen Wüst of Team Netherlands competes during the women's 1500m at the National Speedskating Oval at the 2022 Olympics on Feb. 7 in Beijing. Photo: Cui Nan/China News Service via Getty Images

Dutch speedskater Ireen Wüst made history on Monday, becoming the first athlete to win individual gold at five Olympics after claiming victory in the women's 1,500 meters.

Why it matters: Wüst, 35, won her first Olympic gold in 2006 when she was just 19. She has taken gold at every Winter Games since.

  • Wüst has now amassed six overall golds — the sixth from a team event in Sochi — and is the most decorated Olympic speedskater of all time with 12 medals in all. She is also the most decorated LGBTQ Olympian and Dutch Olympian, according to NBC Sports.
  • Wüst smashed records left and right on Monday, setting a new Olympic record with a winning time of 1:53.28. She is also the oldest speedskater to win Olympic gold.

What she's saying: Calling her consecutive victories "just bizarre," Wüst said in an interview with NPR that to "have a race like this one is just incredible. I just have no words for it."

  • "Age is just a number. It's just about how you feel. I'm not thinking like, 'I'm 35, I'm too old,' hell no," she added.
  • "There's something magical that gets to me when it comes down to the Games," Wüst said. "There's something that brings out the best in me."

What's next: The speedskater plans to retire after the World Cup Final on March 12, NBC Sports reports. She and girlfriend Letitia de Jong are set to wed this summer after postponing the ceremony due to the pandemic.

  • "I always say age is just a number," she told the New York Times. "But I’m 35, and I really want to have children, so at some point you have to quit."

Go deeper: The Olympics medal tracker

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