Schulting, who won the last World Championship overall title back in 2019, and the last two European Championship overall titles, came into the competition as hot favorite, and did not disappoint.
Suzanne Schulting (NED) and Xandra Velzeboer (NED) 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
She took the 1500m gold with ease. Hitting the front with five laps to go, Schulting simply applied too much speed for a high-quality field to cope with. Left in her wake, a crash resulted as the rest tried to keep up. Only Courtney Sarault of Canada, who took silver, and Xandra Velzeboer (NED), who got bronze, could get close.
“This is a very big relief,” said Schulting after the 1500m. “The World Championships now really started and I am super happy to have started like this.”
Schulting then added the 500m gold – never her favorite distance – to cap a remarkable day.
Suzanne Schulting (NED) wins L500m 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
There were high emotions in the arena before the final. On the big screens, the last race of Lara van Ruijven (NED), who tragically passed away during a training camp in France in 2020, was shown.
Van Ruijven became 500m World Champion at the 2019 ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Schulting finished in third place that day.
This time around, she won gold. The Netherlands racer got into first place on the first corner, knowing that her superior speed could see her through, and once again the opposition floundered. Sofia Prosvirnova (RSU) fell early, and while Italy’s Arianna Fontana, the 2018 Olympic gold medalist at this distance, tried her best, Schulting was simply too powerful.
L500m: Arianna Fontana, (ITA) left, Suzanne Schulting (NED) center, Selma Poutsma (NED), right 2021 © International Skating Union (ISU)
At the finish line, Schulting, her teammates and coaches shed tears for Van Ruijven. Afterwards, she paid tribute to her teammate and friend.
“When we left the hotel in Perpignan last summer after we said goodbye to Lara, there was one thing that I really wanted to work on,” said Schulting. “I wanted to fight and become better on the 500m, and worked on that all summer and season. There was just a small group of people that knew this was my main goal.
“I really had to work. The first part of my race wasn’t as good as Lara’s, for example. [After crossing the line] I thought about Lara right away.
“I really wanted to become World Champion in the 500m to make sure we kept the title within the Dutch team. That really was my main goal this season, and I am super, super proud of it.”
With her favorite event, the 1000m, to come tomorrow, Schulting goes into Sunday’s decisive racing with the leader’s red hat. It will take a miracle to stop her from becoming World Champion for a second time. She is on 68 points, with Fontana a distant second on 26, and Sarault third with 24.
Where to Watch
Viewers will be able to watch the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships either via their national broadcaster / channel and for countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel.
All the information is available in the Where to Watch. For further information regarding the ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships, including the announcement and entry list please visit the dedicated ISU Event Page and listen to The Ice Skating Podcast.
Subscribe to the ISU Newsletter to receive the latest information from the ISU and you can also subscribe to the Skating ISU YouTube Channel to receive notifications when live streams or new videos are published.
Highlights, clips, interviews, behind the scenes:
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