Mulder twins claim gold and bronze

February 11, 2014 - 12:47:11 am
SOCHI, Russia: Michel Mulder ‘lost’ then won the men’s 500 metres Olympic speed skating title by one hundredth of a second in a dramatic finale at the Adler Arena yesterday, with his twin brother Ronald taking bronze in another Dutch clean sweep of the medals.

After clocking a combined 69.312 seconds for his two 500m races, Mulder sat on the edge of the ice and watched as compatriot Jan Smeekens crossed the line in the final heat and was placed on top of the leaderboard on the giant screen.

Smeekens skated down the back straight celebrating the gold but the official timings showed the duo were level, before adjusting to reveal a 0.012 difference -- in favour of Mulder.

“When he crossed the line I thought we were equal, I knew my total,” Mulder told reporters of the angst-ridden finish.

“I saw ‘1’ against his name and I thought maybe they correctly pointed out who was fastest in thousands of a second and I thought I was second. 

“(Then) I looked at the board and saw his time was going one hundredth up. At first I didn’t believe it and wasn’t sure but then soon enough I saw my name on top of the list and knew it was a official result. Unbelievable. Great feeling.”

The Dutch have won seven of the nine medals available at the Adler Arena so far and the Mulders became the first twins to medal in the same individual Winter Olympics event since Americans Phil and Steven Mahre achieved the feat in alpine skiing at the 1984 Sarajevo Games.

The gold was a record 30th for the Dutch in speed skating. They had been tied on 20 with the United States.

While the 27-year-old Mulder ripped open his suit and screamed in delight at winning gold, Smeekens struggled to sum the pain of having it snatched from his grasp.

“It was a kick in the gut,” said Smeekens, who said he thought he had won for about “two or three minutes”.

“I was so ecstatic that I won, I can’t describe it.”