Flemish speed skater wins mass start world championship


Bart Swings has followed up his Olympic silver medal in mass start with gold at the world championships

Six-kilometre race

Flemish speed skater Bart Swings has won the mass start World Cup, which took place at the weekend in Belarus. It is the first time that the skater – also an inline skating champion – has won the mass start championship.

Mass start has only been part of speed skating since 2011. The race has a much more complicated trajectory – and scoring system – than traditional speed skating, taking on a roller derby kind of feel as skaters jostle for position over 16 laps, or 6,400 metres.

Swings only had seven competitors in Belarus; many of the world’s top speed skaters sat this year out because of how close the world championships fell after the Winter Olympic Games. Swings won the silver medal at the Games for mass start. It was the first time that mass start was part of the Olympic Games.