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Out speedskater Ireen Wüst leads all Olympians in medals won

Wüst, the Dutch star speedskater, wins her second gold and the fifth of the Games.

From left, Marrit Leenstra, Ireen Wust, Lotte van Beek and Jorien ter Mors celebrate team pursuit win.
From left, Marrit Leenstra, Ireen Wust, Lotte van Beek and Jorien ter Mors celebrate team pursuit win.
Clive Mason

The news hasn't exactly made global headlines, but on Saturday, out bisexual Netherlands speedskater Ireen Wüst became the most medalled competitor at the Sochi Games.  Her clanking haul is five medals overall -- two gold and three silver. 

The second gold came Saturday as she led her team to victory in the women's team pursuit.  ESPN commented:  "Ireen Wust, Jorien ter Mors and Marrit Leenstra were like a runaway train, leading by more than a second and a half after the first half-lap and steadily building the advantage from there, winning by more than 7 seconds in 2:58.05."  The time was a new Olympic record for that event. 

"It still hasn't sunk in," Wüst told ABC News. 

Years ago, before the 2010 Vancouver Games, Wüst was looking unconfident and burned out.  But at Vancouver she reignited her career, and her will to win.  At Sochi, she has been on an unstoppable roll. Whether we like it or not, her run of wins evidently resulted from her announced strategy to stay focused -- to avoid politics around the Russian anti-gay law and just, as she put it, "skate very fast."

In Saturday's medal standings, with Russia at the top of the leaderboard with 29, the Netherlands was in fifth place, with 24 -- 23 of them in speedskating.  And five of those are Wüst's.  Probably no other athlete at Sochi did so much to push their country toward the top in that medals race that means so much to national pride.

The U.S. could have used a performance like Wüst's.  As the Christian Science Monitor put it:  "It [was] the worst Winter Olympics in history for American long track speedskaters, tying the medal-less performances of 1984 and 1956. There is already talk of a formal inquiry into what went wrong for a team that was expected to win three or four medals at least."

In Saturday evening prime time, NBC moved into wrap-up mode.  There was more tourist stuff -- viewers learned that one can surf at Sochi, on those little waves that break on the Black Sea pebble beaches.  We got to see more of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinsky, focusing mostly on their wow wardrobes.  Johnny's tiara was nice enough to be in the Tower of London with the Queen's jewels.  Weir's commenting is earning high marks, and his spirited presence has added a gay "je ne sai quoi" to the whole affair. But NBC gave little prominence to Wüst's epic achievement.
At an Olympics with so much controversy about Russia's denial of human rights to LGBT people, a bi woman quietly got in everybody's face, including Russia's, with her stunning performance on the ice.

Patricia Nell Warren is author of the award-winning and groundbreaking The Front Runner, along with some other fantastic novels and non-fiction books. She will be contributing to Outsports throughout the Olympics. You can read more about Patricia Nell Warren at Wildcat InternationalCopyright 2014 by Patricia Nell Warren. All rights reserved.