Netherlands Short-Track Team Wins Bronze Medal For World-Record Race, Didn’t Even Compete In Final

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Short-track speed skating has been popular since its introduction to the Winter Olympics in 1992 for two reasons: its high-speed, exciting races and the propensity for athletes to crash. And in yesterday’s women’s 3,000-meter short-track relay, fans got to see both.

It led to a particularly wild scenario, where a team not in the final won the bronze medal. The Netherlands, who won the B Final—essentially a consolation race to determine placement—set a world record in that race. They set the world record and only won bronze!

The 27-lap A Final featured South Korea, the defending Olympic champions in the event, as well as China, Canada and Italy. The race was tight until the exchange (when skaters switch and push each other forward) with four laps to go: Canada and Italy crashed out of contention. South Korea held off China over the last four laps to win the race.


But there were disqualifications afterward. “During China’s final relay exchange, the active Chinese skater drastically changed lane from the outside to the inside, impeding the active Korean skater,” the International Skating Union said in a release. “In the case of Canada, a non-competing skater on the ice crossed over and impeded the action at the finish lane.”


With China and Canada DQed, that left Italy to take the silver medal. And the bronze went to The Netherlands, which had the best time in an entirely separate race.

The team of Suzanne Schulting, Yara van Kerkhof, Lara van Ruijven, and Jorien ter Mors finished in a world-record time of 4:03.471 in the placement race, which would’ve won them nothing if not for the DQs in the main race. Instead, they’re world record holders and bronze medalists.