Dutch sweep Olympic speed skating medals yet again

Feb. 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Jorrit Bergsma, Sven Kramer and Bob de Jong took Dutch speed skating to an even higher level Tuesday by sweeping the Olympic 10,000-meter medals.

In the longest speed skating race of them all, Bergsma surprised Kramer with a gold-medal performance. Bergsma, who won the bronze while Kramer was winning the gold in the 5,000-meter race earlier in these Games, turned in an Olympic record time of 12:44.45.

Kramer was not only trying to win his second gold in Sochi, he was trying to make up for the disappointment he suffered in Vancouver four years ago. After winning the 5,000-meter event in Vancouver, Kramer straddled one of the lane markers during the 10,000-meter race and was disqualified for an improper lane change.

After powering his way to the 5,000 title on the opening weekend of the 2014 Olympics, Kramer was expected to do the same in the 10,000.

Skating in the final pairing, Kramer was 3.03 seconds in front of Bergsma's pace with 2,800 meters to go. Kramer then began to slow and with 800 meters to go he had fallen almost a full second behind the time of Bergsma.

Kramer finished 4.57 seconds behind Bergsma with de Jong's time being 22.74 seconds slower than that of the winner.

Although Kramer's letdown was a major story, the overall effort by the Netherlands in this year's speed skating competition is a much bigger one.

This was the fourth time Dutch skaters had swept the three medals in a race in Sochi. The Netherlands has won six of the nine races held thus far and has collected 19 of the 27 medals awarded.

Until the Sochi Olympics the most speed skating medals any country had won in a single Olympics was 13. That was the total managed by East Germany in 1988. As traditionally powerful as the Netherlands has been in speed skating, the most medals for that nation in one Winter Games had been the 11 that were won in 1998.

There are three speed skating races left to run at these Olympics. The women will compete over 5,000 meters on Wednesday and both the men's and women's team pursuit events will be held on Saturday

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