Bart Swings has put Belgium on the Winter Olympics medal table. After a 20 year wait, a Belgian was once again on the Olympic podium. The 27 year old from Louvain won the silver medal in the Men’s mass start speed-skating event. This was the last event involving one of the 22 Belgian athletes sent to Pyeongchang in South Korea.
On Saturday Swings was only beaten by the local favourite, South Korean Seun-Hoon Lee. “It wasn’t a particularly difficult race”, says Swings. “I was worried about a few of the fast guys, but I felt very good. I couldn’t wait to accelerate, I was counting down the laps until the sprint. Normally I do it at around 500 metres from the finish line, but this time I did it with 700 metres to go. My legs were good today. In the end, someone else was faster. I gained on him, but I knew that if it came to a sprint, Lee was really fast. I gave it everything I could and the result was the result”.
The Mass start was the fourth event for Swings this Olympics. He already proved his form by coming 6th in the 5,000 metres and 1,500 metres and 8th in the 10,000 metres. He got a personal best every time.
“My trainer Jelle Spruyt and I worked hard and at length. It’s a dream come true”, he said. “We concentrated on all the distances here and I knew that it would be perfect for the Mass start if I was on form in them all”.