In a sport where races and medals come down to hundreds and thousandths of a second, Jorien ter Mors left absolutely no doubt who the best 1500-meter speed skater in the world is on Sunday. Ter Mors, a 24-year-old Dutch skater who ordinarily specializes on the short track, stunned the Sochi crowd and set an Olympic record with a 1:53.51 mark en route to the gold medal.
At the time of ter Mors' race -- the ninth of 18 in the 1500m finals -- the only competitor who was even close to ter Mors' time was Olga Fatkulina of Russia, and ter Mors had beaten Fatkulina's mark by 4.37 seconds.
There were more Dutch skaters to come, and once again the Netherlands swept the medals in this race. Fellow Dutch skater Ireen Wust recorded a 1:54.09 to make things somewhat respectable. Rounding out the medals was -- you guessed it -- another Dutch competitor, this time Lotte van Beek, who finished 1.03 seconds behind ter Mors.
To rub it in, the Netherlands added fourth-place finisher Marrit Leenstra, who was 2.89 seconds back from ter Mors. Russian Yuliya Skokova was five hundredths of a second behind Leenstra to take fifth place, lest you think only the Dutch showed up to this race.
With this event in the books, the Netherlands now own an astonishing 16 of the 24 medals handed out in speed skating thus far. The Dutch will need to capture just three of the last 12 medals still waiting to be awarded in the discipline in order to secure over half of all the speed skating medals for the Olympiad; at this point, that seems extraordinarily likely.
American Heather Richardson finished seventh, 4.09 seconds behind ter Mors and 3.06 seconds out of medal contention.