Irene Schouten of the Netherlands won the women's mass start for her third individual speed skating gold medal of the 2022 Winter Olympics on Saturday.
Schouten previously won the women's 3000m plus 5000m events and collected a bronze medal in the women's team pursuit. The 29-year-old is the second Dutch speed skater to earn four medals at a single Olympics after Ireen Wuest collected five in 2014.
“My dream was after these Games to be called an Olympic champion, and now I am a three-time champion" Schouten said. "I am living the dream.”
Schouten and Canada's Ivanie Blondin were in a dead sprint to the finish line, but the Dutchwoman earned the 0.06-second advantage. Blondin led after the final turn, but Schouten took the lead three strides ahead of the finish line.
"I think I maybe should have been more patient on the final lap," Blondin said. "Maybe I went a little bit early. I thought I had it. The last lap was a little crazy."
Schouten is a distance racer and Blondin is a sprinter, so the Dutchwomen outlasted the Canadian down the stretch.
The gold medalist said after the race that she likes to skate with a teammate during mass start events, but fellow Dutch skater Marijke Groenewoud crashed during the 11th lap.
“It is a game," Schouten said. "Not always the strongest or fastest wins, you need some luck. I was fast, but I got some luck, too."
Blondin earned her second medal of the 2022 Winter Olympics after winning gold in the team pursuit.
“It is nice to finally get an individual medal," Blondin said. "It has been a long and winding road for me."
The 31-year-old finished fourth in two disciplines at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Italy's Francesca Lollobrigida finished third for the bronze medal on Saturday. She landed second behind Schouten in the 3000m.
American Mia Manganello Kilburg crossed the line fourth, her best individual result at an Olympic race of her career. She was 1.17 seconds behind the Italian.
Joey Mantia of the United States also finished fourth in the men's mass start final.
Fellow American Giorgia Birkeland, a 19-year-old in her Olympic debut, reached the final and finished 13th. She tucked herself into the leading group on the final sprint of the semifinal to advance, a savvy move for an athlete in her first senior international event.
Germany's Claudia Pechstein grabbed ninth place to conclude her eighth career Olympics on Saturday. The seven-time medalist will turn 50 next week and is the oldest women's Winter Olympian.
Defending gold medalist Nana Takagi of Japan fell while in qualifying position during the semifinal. She also slipped and crashed during the last lap in the women's 3000m relay Final A to lose out on a gold medal.
The women's mass start was the final speed skating event of the 2022 Winter Olympics, and the Netherlands finished on top of the medal table with 12.