Kramer shakes off pressure, wins another 5000 gold

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 8, 2014 at 10:58 am •  Published: February 8, 2014
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No troubles this time. Kramer flew around the Adler Arena with amazingly consistent laps, all falling within a range of eight-tenths of a second. He easily beat the Olympic mark of 6:14.60 he set while winning gold at Vancouver four years ago.

"I didn't expect it to come so easily," Kramer said. "I think that was one of my best races ever."

He had some sleepless nights in the Olympic Village, going over strategy in his head. He wanted to skate at a nice, steady pace, with each lap around the 400-meter oval as close to 29.2 seconds as possible.

How'd that work out? His fastest lap was 29.04. The slowest was his last, 29.84.

Chad Hedrick, the American who won the 5,000 in Turin eight years ago, tweeted his congratulations to Kramer.

"A legend in the making!" Hedrick wrote.

Blokhuijsen earned the silver in 6:15.71. Bergsma set a quicker pace than Kramer in the early going, but he couldn't maintain the speed. He settled for bronze in 6:16.66.

Kramer now has as many golds as his longtime girlfriend, Naomi van As, who was on the Dutch team that won field hockey at the last two Summer Olympics and was cheering from the stands at these games. He also gave the Netherlands their 28th speedskating gold overall, moving within one of equaling the U.S. team that won more speedskating events than any other country.

The Americans weren't close in this one. Seventeen-year-old Emery Lehman of Oak Park, Ill., was the top American finisher, placing 16th in his Olympic debut. Jonathan Kuck of Champaign, Ill., was 19th, one spot ahead of Patrick Meek of Chicago.

The draw was a bit of a disadvantage for Kramer, who skated in the 10th of 13 pairings. His closest challengers all went after him, which meant they would know how fast they needed to go for gold.

But Kramer put up a time no one came close to touching.

___

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963



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