Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Another race, another gold and another Olympic record for the women speedskaters from the Netherlands.
The trio of Marrit Leenstra, Jorien ter Mors and Ireen Wust were never threatened by Poland on Saturday, winning the women's team pursuit going away at the Sochi Olympics.
The Netherlands set an Olympic record on Friday in the quarterfinals of this event, finishing in 2 minutes and 58.61 seconds. The Dutch women then bettered that mark on Saturday in the semifinals with a time of 2:58.43 to beat Japan and advance.
Still with plenty left in the tank, the Netherlands raced out to a 1.64-second lead over Poland in the first lap of the final and continued to stretch that advantage throughout. When all was said and done, the Dutch finished the 12th and final lap 7.50 seconds ahead of Poland for another record time of 2:58.05.
The victory by the women came shortly after the men defeated South Korea in the pursuit race, also setting an Olympic record.
The combined effort by the men and women's speedskating teams in Sochi netted their country 23 of its current 24 medals, with the other a short track bronze. The Dutch speedskaters claimed eight golds, seven silvers and eight bronze in these Games.
The women were a key part, taking three golds, three silvers and four bronze medals. Wust also won the 3,000 meters while claiming silver in the 1,000-, 1,500- and 5,000-meter races, and ter Mors won her second gold after having also claimed the 1,500m.
Poland won its third Sochi medal in speedskating and first from its women. It had bested Russia by less than two seconds to advance to the final.
Russia delighted the home crowd with a bronze medal, roaring past Japan with a time of 2:59.73. That was 2.84 seconds better than the Japanese trio.
Russian Olga Graf netted her second bronze of these Games, having placed third in the women's 3,000m.
Japan was the early leader in the race, pacing .41 seconds ahead of Russia after six laps. However, the Russian group cut it to .22 seconds the following go around and then pulled ahead for good in the eighth lap.