Irene Schouten of the Netherlands won the first gold medal in speed skating at the 2022 Winter Olympics with a 3:56.93 time in the women's 3000m, an Olympic record.
The 29-year-old edged Francesca Lollobrigida from Italy, who earned the silver medal at 3:58.06, in the final pairing of the day. Schouten led Lollobrigida by 0.29 seconds at the start of the final lap.
"It went superb," Schouten said after the win. "Normally, there's always a lap that didn't go too well, but today that wasn't the case."
Isabelle Weidemann of Canada won the bronze at 3:58.64.
Schouten had not won an Olympic gold medal before Saturday. She earned a bronze in the 2018 mass start competition.
"This has been a dream ever since I was young," Schouten said. "That I can call myself an Olympic champion on an individual distance is something no one can take away from me."
The three medalists raced in the final two pairings.
"I am incredibly happy," Lollobrigida said. "I tried to keep close to her until the finish line and, until the last lap, it was like that."
A different Dutch skater has now won the gold at three straight Winter Olympic Games in this discipline.
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Carlijn Achtereekte, who won in 2018, finished in seventh place out of 20 skaters on Saturday.
Mia Manganello Kilburg of the United States finished in 19th place after 4:14.42 skate, which was a step back from her 4:07.61 mark at Olympic Trials.
Germany's Claudia Pechstein was in the first duo to skate. At 49 years old, she is the oldest speed skater at the Olympics and oldest female Winter Olympian of all time. The seven-time medalist finished 20th.
The next speed skating event is the men's 5000m on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.
Click here to watch the full event replay from start to finish.
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