Suzanne Schulting continued her medal haul on Sunday, raising two fists in the air and screaming with joy after winning the 1000m – the event in which she holds the Olympic title. The 23-year-old took a lead in the third lap and kept it for the remaining six, winning the gold medal three tenths of a second ahead of teammate Selma Poutsma. Germany’s Anna Seidel finished third.
The Olympic champion’s victory sealed her third consecutive European overall title. This year she took it with the biggest margin – 47 points – finishing top with 102, ahead of Seidel in second with 55 and Russia’s Sofia Prosvirnova, who finished third overall with 53.
“I was really happy with the 1000m and that I was able to race such a great race and of course I was happy that I got the overall classification,” Schulting said.
The superstar fell in the Ladies’ 3000m Relay but got up again to help her team claim the silver medal behind France, adding to her four individual gold medals in Gdansk. In an emotional medal ceremony, Schulting struggled to hold back her tears.
“I put myself in a lot of pressure this weekend so it was because of that,” she said.
“In the Relay we wanted gold but we got silver because I fell down and that made me upset. And I was thinking about Lara (van Ruijven, her teammate, who passed away in July 2020) because last year she won the silver medal in the 1000m. It was a combination of everything, but mostly about Lara.”
Selma Poutsma (NED) at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
Poutsma’s silver in the 1000m final was her first individual international medal.
“Already when I made it to the A final, that was a milestone for me,” the Dutch 21-year-old said. “To be able to win a medal too was the cherry on top of the cake. We (she and Schulting) did it perfectly. We could not have done it better.”
Poutsma, who competed for France until 2018, left the European Championships with mixed feelings, however, after missing out on Relay gold.
“We got silver due to some small mistakes. I think we should keep that in mind for the next time and show what we’ve got because I think we are so strong,” she said.
“I have to work a lot on my corners and we have to really keep in mind the small mistakes we made in the Relay so that we can take the gold in the World Championships.”
Seidel’s 1000m was looking less than glorious with three laps to go but the 22-year-old made a push past Russians Ekaterina Efremenkova and Evgeniya Zakharova to move from fifth place to take the bronze medal. Prosvirnova won the 3000m Superfinal, ahead of Seidel in second and Efremenkova third.
Anna Seidel (wearing 52, GER) at the ISU European Short Track Speed Skating Championships 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
The overall silver medalist can look back at a successful first weekend of Short Track after the almost-year-long break from international competition.
“I’m really happy,” said Seidel, who leaves Poland with two silvers and a bronze. “I knew that physically I could do well here but in Short Track there are so many things that can happen so I’m really happy it worked out so well for me.”
“It’s been a really tough time for us and that makes me even more proud. We could train in our arena the whole time but motivationally it hasn’t been the easiest, so I’m proud that we finished so strong and continued training through these hard times.”
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