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Irene Schouten of the Netherlands in action  during the women’s speed skating event at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, China, February 5, 2022. ― Reuters pic
Irene Schouten of the Netherlands in action during the women’s speed skating event at the National Speed Skating Oval in Beijing, China, February 5, 2022. ― Reuters pic

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BEIJING, Feb 5 ― Dutch speedskater Irene Schouten won gold in the women’s 3,000 metres with an Olympic record at the Beijing Winter Games today.

Italy’s Francesca Lollobrigida, who led in the early stages of the final race, could not hold on to her advantage and finished with silver, while Isabelle Weidemann of Canada won the bronze.

Schouten’s time of three minutes 56.93 seconds beat the Olympic record of 3:57.70 set by German Claudia Pechstein at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

Lollobrigida clocked 3:58.06 and Weidemann 3:58.64. World record holder Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic was fourth.

Pechstein became the oldest woman to compete at a Winter Olympics, at the age of 49, when she finished last in the 20-athlete field, at her eighth Olympics.

The 30-year-old Lollobrigida, a great-niece of 1950s and 1960s film star Gina Lollobrigida, kept a steady lead ahead of Schouten in the early stages as the pair glided around the National Speed Skating Oval.

Schouten, 29, never let the Italian stray too far and overtook her at the midway point of the race before crossing the line first to take the gold and the record. ― Reuters

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