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Twins win speed skating medals at the Olympics

Feb. 10, 2014 at 12:03 PM  |  Updated Feb. 10, 2014 at 5:19 PM   |   Comments

http://cdnph.upi.com/sv/em/upi/UPI-55401392051782/2014/1/d40d42da857c9bbe697f9242671a948e/Twins-win-speed-skating-medals-at-the-Olympics.jpg
SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Twin brothers Michel and Ronald Mulder both won a medal at the Winter Olympics Monday and thus added to the lore of Dutch speed skating.

In a 500-meter race that was decided by 0.001 second, the Netherlands swept the medals in a speed skating race for the second time at the Sochi Olympics.

The Mulders also became the second set of siblings at these Games to walk away with medals from the same event.

Michel Mulder won the gold in the speed skating sprint where each competitor is timed over a pair of 500-meter races and those times are added for a final result.

After finishing 0.04 of a second behind countryman Jan Smeekens in the first heat, Michel Mulder rocketed around the oval in 34.67. At first the scoreboard indicated Mulder finished a fraction of a second behind Smeekens but then the numbers changed to show that Mulder had won the gold medal.

Mulder's combined time of 69.312 bested that of Smeekens' 69.324. Ronald Mulder was third in 69.46 after having turned in only the sixth best performance in the opening heat.

Defending champion Mo Tae Bum finished fourth in 69.69.

The Netherlands has, since the middle of the 20th Century, been the most powerful speed skating country in the world and in the last four Winter Olympics has won 14 more medals in the sport than any other nation.

The oddity, however, is that until Monday the Netherlands had never produced a men's 500-meter Olympic champion. Of the 69 medals handed out through the years in the 500-meter race, only two had gone to the Netherlands.

That all changed Monday with the sweep by the Mulders and Smeekens.

Skaters from the Netherlands also swept the medals in the men's 5,000-meter race on Saturday with the awards going to Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Jerrit Bergsma. The Netherlands has also won gold in all three speed skating events contested. Irene Wust claimed gold in the 3,000-meter race on Sunday.

And although having two family members on the same podium at an Olympics is a rarity, it has already happened twice at these Games. Justine and Chloe Dufour-LaPointe of Canada won gold and silver medals in the women's moguls.

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