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Fourth-Place Medal

Timing judgment reverses gold/silver finish at men's 500m event

Jay Busbee
Fourth-Place Medal
Gold medallist Michel Mulder from the Netherlands clenches his fist after his second heat race in the men's 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Sochi, Russia
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Gold medallist Michel Mulder from the Netherlands clenches his fist after his second heat race in the men's 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Netherlands pulled off an impressive gold-silver-bronze sweep at the men's 500m short track speedskating event, but not without controversy.

As the racers finished, it appeared that Jan Smeekens had won gold:

 But after a timing adjustment, Michel Mulder was deemed the winner by 1/100th of a second:

(For perspective, an eyeblink is 1/10th of a second, ten times slower than Mulder's margin of victory.) Mulder's twin brother Ronald took bronze.

"I didn't really realize what time I needed," Michel Mulder said to reporters in Sochi. "In the past, I have lost races by one-hundredths a few times. It was so unbelievable."

Smeekens, running in the first heat, initially believed he had won gold. But once the clock adjusted to the offiicial time, Mulder had won the gold with a time of 1 minute, 9.31 seconds, and Smeekens stood at 1 minute, 9.32 seconds.

"It was a kick in the gut," Smeekens said. "I was really happy — and then really disappointed."

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Silver medallist Jan Smeekens, gold medallist Michel Mulder and bronze medallist Ronald Mulder stand on the podium. …

This race marked the first-ever gold for the Netherlands in the men's 500m event. It was also the second podium sweep for the Dutch, who also took all three medals in the 5,000m event on Saturday. Dutch skaters have taken 7 of 9 speedskating medal so far. 

The sweep puts the Netherlands atop the medal count with seven, tied with Norway. Canada ranks next with five total medals.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter.

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