Ireen Wust of the Netherlands made up for a disappointing start to her Olympics by claiming Vancouver speedskating gold in the women's 1,500 meters at the Richmond Olympic Oval on Sunday.
Wust upgraded her 2006 Turin bronze with a blistering time of one minute 56.89 seconds in the 15th of 18 pairings and then watched as the other contenders failed to beat the time.
Wust, who became the youngest Dutch gold medalist ever in the Winter Games when she won gold in the 3,000m in Turin as a 19-year-old, finished seventh in last week's 3,000 and eighth in the 1,000m before she struck gold in the blue ribbon event.
Top-ranked Kristina Groves of Canada repeated as silver medalist by finishing second in 1:57.14, adding to the 3,000m bronze she claimed last week.
The bronze medal went to Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, gold medalist in the 3,000m, in 1:57.96.
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The Dutch all-rounder knew she had nailed her run, thrusting both arms in the air, pumping her fists in delight and pointing to the roaring orange-clad army packed into the oval after her finish.
Once second-ranked Canadian Christine Nesbitt failed to overtake her in the final pairing, the Dutch crowd erupted and Wust cried tears of joy.
On her victory lap, she paused to hug and kiss her girlfriend Sanne van Kerkhof, a member of the Dutch short track speedskating team.
All the pieces came together today, Wuss told reporters. It's so unreal. I can't describe how happy I am.
Wust said her golden moment made up for the earlier Vancouver results.
The 3-K was disappointing and the thousand was disappointing, she said. But now I think I'm the happiest person on earth right now.