Wust burnishes legend
Gold for Dutch star; Alberta’s Tutt ‘gains experience’
Brianne Tutt won’t be telling anybody that she pushed the great Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust to an epic gold medal at the Olympics. Too many video cameras would prove that a generous exaggeration.
“Maybe in that first corner, when I gave her a sick draft, I’ll take credit for that,” chuckled Tutt, who was paired with Wust but finished 15th in the women’s 1,500 metres. “But that’s about all I helped her with.”
Wust upset Japan’s Miho Takagi, who won all four World Cup 1,500-metre races this season. Marrit Leenstra of The Netherlands was third. It’s a bit strange to call it an upset, of course, given that Wust won her ninth Olympic medal and fifth gold and will retire after these Games as the most decorated skater of her generation.
But Takagi had been on fire earlier in the season. Tutt also had better results in the fall, and her fifth-place finish in Calgary was the pinnacle. It had raised her expectations for her second trip to the Olympics. And she did improve on a 35th-place finish in Sochi. It just wasn’t enough for her.
“I expected at least a top-six finish in this event,” continued Tutt, a 25-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. “I couldn’t figure out the ice. I couldn’t get a good feel for the past week.
“I had pneumonia about a month and a half, two months ago. My fitness wasn’t there to compete at a good level.
“But I gave it my all in that race. I got the chance to race the Olympic champion at that distance. It was something really cool that I will remember. Gain some experience and learn from it.”
Tutt’s teammates didn’t fare as well. Kali Christ was 19th and Josie Morrison was 21st in a field of 27.
Alberta’s Brianne Tutt placed 15th in the women’s 1,500-metre speedskating final at the Gangneung Oval on Monday.