Sixth place for Flemish speed skater at Olympics


In Belgium’s best place at the Winter Games so far is speed skater Bart Swings, who finished sixth in the 5,000m

More races this week

Flemish speed skater Bart Swings has come in sixth in the 5,000-metre in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, with a time of 6:14.57. The athlete is taking part in his second Olympic Winter Games after placing fourth in the discipline in 2014.

Swings, 26, took to the ice not long before the 2014 Games in Sochi, having won multiple European and world medals in inline skating. He once broke the 10,000m track inline skating world record and still holds the world record in the 1,000m. He also holds the Marathon record for road inline skating.

Swings crossed the 5,000m in Pyeongchang with a smile, saying: “I had a strong and even race. It wasn’t enough to get me to the podium, but I am very satisfied with my performance.” His next race is the 1,500m on Tuesday, followed by the 10,000m on Thursday.

In other Olympic news, Flemish snowboarder Seppe Smits placed 10th in slopestyle. The current world champion, he earned 69.03 points.

Belgium has sent 22 athletes to the Games in South Korea, the largest number since 1936. They include four alpine skiers, one cross-country skier, two biathlon skiers, two bobsleigh teams, two figure skaters, six speed skaters and three snowboarders.

Smits and Swings were considered the country’s best hopes for a medal, though the bobsleigh team made up of Elfje Willemsen and Sophie Vercruyssen is also one to watch. Willemsen finished sixth in the 2014 Olympics in the sport, and the pair took home a silver from the 2016 European Championships, placing fifth last year. The bobsleigh medal race is scheduled for Wednesday.

Photo: Dirk Waem/BELGA