Speed Skater Bart Swings (BEL) is our Athlete of February 2018! Big congratulations!
Bart Swings (27) not only won two gold medals at The World Games in Wroclaw last year, he was also double European Champion in 2017. He currently holds the World Record in 10,000 m Inline Speed Skating. But in February 2018, he achieved something no Belgian athlete has achieved in 20 years: a medal at the Winter Olympics!
“A silver medal at the Olympic Games is a dream come true, and something I've worked hard on for the last 8 years. I changed sports from Inline Speed Skating to Ice Speed Skating to win a medal at the Olympics”, Swings says. “And now that I have realised this goal it gives me an indescribable feeling!”
Millions of TV viewers were able to watch the Belgian produce a masterclass in tactics and timing in the first ever Olympic Speed Skating Mass Start event. Swings was always well positioned throughout the race, just on the shoulders of the leading group. With two laps remaining, legendary Dutch skater Sven Kramer pulled away from the pack in search of a tenth medal at the Olympic Winter Games. Swings, using the skills that he has honed on the road, which have led to the Belgian athlete taking the Berlin Marathon title for the last five years, upped the tempo. The Dutchman was soon overhauled, but Swings' burst of pace was insufficient to get past hometown favourite Lee Seung Hoon, the Belgian crossing the line a few strides behind the triumphant Korean.
“I'm very honoured to be chosen as the Athlete of February 2018!” Bart Swings says. “My nicest memory of The World Games 2017 was winning the gold medal. I had to fight for it very hard but I didn't give up and eventually I stayed strong enough to win!” All in all, Swings has won seven medals at The World Games, of which four are gold.
The World Games Athlete of the Month will receive a diploma and an engraved Tissot watch.