Say goodnight to speed skating in the 2014 Sochi games, a sport so thoroughly dominated by the Dutch—winners of 21 of 30 individual medals—that today's team pursuit races seemed well past inevitable.
Fortunately, the Dutch teams—Jan Blokhuijsen, Sven Kramer and Koen Verweij in the men's, Marrit Leenstra, Jorien ter Mors, Lotte van Beek and Ireen Wust in the women's—put on an absolute show.
The Dutch women set their second-straight Olympic record in the semifinals, shaving .18 seconds off their quarterfinal mark to finish at 2:58.43. Not satisfied with that, the Netherlands capped the event with authority, racking up a 2:58.05 for an easy, easy gold medal. Poland, god bless 'em, had a 3:05.55 for the silver medal. It may as well have been three hours; the Polish never stood a chance.
Russia took the bronze medal, registering a still-fantastic 2:59.73 (the only non-Dutch team to break the three-minute barrier in any stage of the women's team pursuit) to top Japan with ease.
In men's speed skating, South Korea was the last foe with a chance to vanquish the Dutch, and the trio of Hyong Jun Joo, Cheol Min Kim and Seung Hoon Lee skated to a strong mark of 3:40.85—a hair slower than the Netherlands' semifinals time. But with nothing to hold back in the finals, the Dutch set an Olympic record of 3:37.71 for yet another dominant gold.
Poland took bronze in men's pursuit over Canada. Poland's time was over four seconds slower than the Netherlands' and nobody will remember it.
The United States finished sixth in the women's pursuit and seventh in men's.
And so there it is. The Netherlands hold 23 speed skating medals: eight golds, seven silvers, eight bronzes. The rest of the world combined has 13. Thus ends a singular display of dominance in a sport unlike any you'll see again in the Olympics for a long, long time—unless the Netherlands get even stronger in 2016.