On the Olympics in South Korea, extremely populated international locations such because the U.S. can contend in a broad vary of sports activities, together with snowboarding, hockey, skating and extra. However smaller international locations have a more durable time producing world-class athletes in so many disciplines, in order that they typically think about only a few. Then there’s the Netherlands, which owns one occasion alone: speedskating.
Via the top of competitors Wednesday (South Korea time) on the Pyeongchang Video games, 40 of the 42 gold medals Dutch rivals have gained in any Winter Olympics had are available speedskating — to not be confused with speedskating’s extra thrilling half-brother, short-track velocity skating, which the Olympics depend as a separate self-discipline. Simply seven of the nation’s 121 whole Winter medals got here in a sport apart from speedskating, a measly 5.eight p.c. On the earlier Winter Olympics in 2014, the Dutch claimed 24 medals: 23 in speedskating and one, a bronze, in brief monitor skating. Eight of their medals have been gold.
In sports activities, a rustic’s dominance typically fades — have a look at Romania in Olympic gymnastics or U.S. males in tennis Grand Slams. However Dutch speedskaters have sustained their superiority. Within the 2010 Olympics, they gained eight medals: seven in speedskating and one, a gold, in snowboarding. They gained 9 in 2006, all in speedskating. Up to now this Olympics, they’ve already gained 9 speedskating medals,1 together with 5 golds. Essentially the most spectacular Dutch medal to date in these video games: a 3rd consecutive gold within the 5,000 meter race for Sven Kramer, who’s 31 years outdated. He’s the primary man to win three straight golds in the identical Olympic speedskating occasion. He gained this yr’s race by nearly two seconds.
|IN Sport||ALL EVENTS||Share of|
|South Korea||Brief monitor||22||43||27||54||81.5||79.6|
|Nice Britain||Determine skating||5||15||11||33||45.5||45.5|
Issues weren’t at all times this manner. Taking a look at all of the medals ever given out in speedskating, the Dutch have captured 21 p.c. That is spectacular, but it surely’s wanting different international locations’ performances in different sports activities: Canada has gained 31 p.c of all curling medals, and the U.S. has gained 29 p.c of all snowboarding medals, as an illustration. However a lot of this has to do with the truth that speedskating has a long history at the Olympics, and the Netherlands has solely reached its present degree of dominance comparatively just lately. The Dutch gained 13.1 p.c of all speedskating medals between 1924 and the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, and all of these got here after 1952. However for the reason that 1998 Video games in Nagano, Japan, the Netherlands has captured 36.6 p.c of all podium spots.2
The Dutch dominance is so full that it conjures up wacky theories. NBC’s Katie Couric was mocked for her current assertion that the Dutch are so good as a result of they’ve a longstanding custom of skating from place to position on frozen canals. The issue: These canals freeze just a few occasions a yr, if in any respect, and when folks skate on them, it’s for recreation. Dutch skeedskaters are additionally rumored to have an ideal body type for the sport, however whereas the nation’s racers are sometimes tall, so are many of their opponents from different countries. Nor do the Dutch use a proprietary methodology to glide previous different rivals: Whereas many members of the group have spectacular kind, which incorporates bending low and skating with drive and precision, the technique isn’t a secret.
The actual trigger, greater than the rest, is dedication. Beginning in childhood, Dutch skaters train with excellent instructors. The Dutch group’s skating gear is one of the best on this planet, too. For the Olympics in 2014, officers from the host metropolis of Sochi went to the Netherlands to learn how to build a top-of-the-line racing rink. By the point they’re able to compete, Dutch stars have been skating in best situations and studying tips on how to peak in time for the most important races.
The final word proof of a rustic’s prowess in an Olympic occasion is sweeping all three medals. The Netherlands managed it earlier this week, when Dutch girls took gold, silver and bronze in a 3,000 meter speedskating race. In one other race, the 31-year-old Ireen Wust won her fifth career gold medal and 10th general medal, a speedskating document. That victory was a shock, because the silver medalist, Miho Takagi of Japan, was a strong favorite. Wust is the primary Dutch athlete to win 5 gold medals.
The one champions who beat out the Dutch when it comes to profitable all their medals in a single sport in both the Winter or Summer time Video games3 are Ethiopia and Jamaica, who excel in monitor and discipline races. Ethiopia has 53 summer time medals, all of them in monitor and discipline. Jamaica, well-known for the record-holding sprinter Usain Bolt, has gained 98.7 p.c of its medals in monitor. The Dutch are subsequent on the record, at 94.2 p.c.
|Nation||Sport||In sport||Whole||share of whole|
|Ethiopia||Observe & Discipline||53||53||100.zero%|
|Jamaica||Observe & Discipline||77||78||98.7|
|Kenya||Observe & Discipline||93||100||93.zero|
|Bahamas||Observe & Discipline||12||14||85.7|
|Morocco||Observe & Discipline||19||23||82.6|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Observe & Discipline||15||19||79.zero|
So, will the Dutch group’s rule ever finish? This appears unattainable now, particularly given the comparatively low ranges of consideration the game will get in highly effective international locations just like the U.S. However you by no means know. Because the U.S. and lots of different international locations have proven, Olympic dominance normally doesn’t final without end. Take pleasure in it, these of you from the Netherlands, whilst you can.