SOCHI, Russia — Zhang Hong pulled off a stunning victory in the women’s 1,000 metres Thursday and gave China its first gold ever in Olympic speedskating.
Zhang, who had not done much on the World Cup circuit this season, skated in the seventh of 18 pairs based on her middling results. But she posted a stunning time of 1 minute, 14.02 seconds, breaking the track record and just missing the Olympic mark set by Chris Witty at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.
Zhang was just a spectator through the second half of the competition, but her smile kept getting bigger as no one came close to beating her time.
The Dutch ran their Sochi speedskating medal haul to 12. Ireen Wust took the silver and Margot Boer the bronze.
Canada’s Christine Nesbitt, the defending Olympic champion, finished ninth.