Bart Swings (BEL) poses for the Belgian Olympic Committee ahead of the The World Games 2022 @GettyImages
Mass Start Olympic Champion Bart Swings (BEL) has claimed five medals in Roller Speed Skating at the World Games 2022 in Birmingham (USA), four of them gold. He also became the first athlete to win a gold medal at the World Games and the Olympic Winter Games in the same year.
Swings started off by winning the 10,000m points elimination track race and then went on to win gold in the 10,000m elimination road race, the 10,000m road points race and the 15km road elimination. He also took bronze in the 1000m sprint.
Bart Swings (BEL) competes during the 2013 World Roller Speed Skating Championships in Oostende (BEL) @GettyImages
“I certainly went to Birmingham with the necessary ambitions, but I really did not expect to get all those medals”, Swings told Belgian media after his achievements. “I hoped to win a gold medal at the World Games, but to claim four golds is just something different. I definitely did not expect to come home with four golds.”
“It’s very special and it hasn’t all sunk in yet. These achievements are certainly something unique, but it’s not like I was preoccupied with it. I just tried to give everything and with that mindset I started each race.”
The 31-year-old Skater previously won two gold medals at the World Games 2013 and 2017. In 2017 he also added a silver and in 2013 he added a silver and bronze to his medal tally.
“The World Games are simply the highest competition in the discipline and it’s an honor to do so well. Roller Speed Skating is close to my heart, it’s really my passion”, he said.
“I once started Ice Skating in order to reach the Olympics and that is certainly the highest of all. The gold medal I won in Beijing was really unique. But Inline Skating is certainly a very international sport with a high level as well.”
Regardless of his results at the World Games 2022, Swings will still mainly focus on Ice Skating. “I will definitely do some Inline Skating this summer, but first I’ll enjoy my holiday. After that, the focus will soon switch to Ice Skating again. That still is my main focus and that is where I have the biggest ambitions.”
Bart Swings (BEL) celebrates during the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijng (CHN) @GettyImages
Swings is looking forward to the ISU Speed Skating Season 2022/23. “I want to prove myself again when I start my races as the reigning Olympic Champion. That’s what I’m looking forward to and will prepare myself for”, he said.