Jorrit Bergsma knocks off Kramer in 10,000 meters

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2014 at 11:58 am •  Published: February 18, 2014
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Jorrit Bergsma wouldn't go along with the storyline.

This was supposed to be about Sven Kramer's redemption, the place where the world's greatest distance skater finally made up for his incredible blunder four year ago.

Instead, Kramer was dealt another crushing disappointment.

With a stunner of a finishing kick, Bergsma upset his favored countryman to win speedskating Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters Tuesday with the fastest time ever at sea level.

"I understand that people really wanted to see Sven win here," Bergsma said. "But I skate for myself. I came here to win gold. I wasn't going to give away the gold for Sven's story."

Kramer gave away a sure gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games with a botched lane change. This time, he simply got beat by — almost inevitably at the Sochi Games — a fellow Dutchman.

Bergsma's time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds was less than 3 seconds off Kramer's world record, set at high altitude in 2007, and shattered the Olympic record of 12:58.55 by South Korea's Lee Seung-hoon four years ago.

Kramer settled for silver in 12:49.02. The bronze went to 37-year-old Bob de Jong, the oldest speedskating medalist in 86 years.

"This is really bitter, because I never took this into account," Kramer said. "Turns out, I simply was not good enough."

While the order of finish didn't go as expected, the guys on the podium were no surprise at all.

It was another orange sweep, the fourth 1-2-3 finish for the Netherlands at Adler Arena, its speedskating medal haul climbing to 19 out of a possible 27.

Bergsma's last five laps were all under 30 seconds, a pace Kramer simply couldn't match skating in the final pair with Lee.

"I was doing 29-second laps and was able to hold on to those late in the race," Bergsma said.

Kramer had already captured his second straight 5,000 gold in Sochi, but he really wanted to make up for the 10,000 victory that got away in Vancouver. During a routine crossover on the backstretch, Kramer's coach, Gerard Kemkers, absent-mindedly directed him to the wrong lane. The skater dutifully followed the instructions, leading to a disqualification. Lee took the gold, even though his time was 4 seconds slower than Kramer's.

"Four years ago was tougher than this. Here I was beaten by someone better," Kramer said. "I have to accept this, however tough it is."

Smooth and relaxed in the early laps, Kramer was grimacing in a desperate search for more speed the closer he got to the end. His lap times climbed steadily higher. When the bell rang for the final trip around the oval, Bergsma already was celebrating in the infield.



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