Speed skater Bart Swings takes fourth in Sochi

Summary

Belgium’s best hope for a medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Bart Swings, came in fourth in the 5,000-metre speed skating competition

Bobsleigh duo will compete this Wednesday

The Flemish hopefuls in the Sochi winter Olympics have failed to seize any medals yet, although speed skater Bart Swings (pictured) came close with his fourth-place position in the 5,000 metre.

The chances of Olympic glory for Belgium were slim, with a contingent of just seven taking part in the games. Swings, 23, was the best hope, transitioning his experience as an inline skater – he’s a four time world champion – into speed skating. From Leuven, the 23-year old has only spent one year in the sport, but it was enough to assure him a strong fourth place, just 1.13 seconds short of a bronze medal.

Another athlete switching sports was Belgium’s flag carrier Hanna Mariën, a former track and field athlete and part of the bobsleigh duo with Elfje Willemsen. They are aiming for at least a top eight position in the event, with the final on Wednesday of this week.

Speed skater Jelena Peeters, meanwhile, came a respectable 12th in the 3,000 metres race. It was one place higher than her 13th position in last year’s World Championships and met her goal of making it into the top 15.

Seppe Smits failed to make it out of the group stage and into the semi-finals in the slopestyle, a new winter Olympic event where the goal is to perform the most difficult tricks while getting the highest altitude off jumps.

Belgium’s best hope for a medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Bart Swings, came in fourth in the 5,000-metre speed skating competition.

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