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Romme Wins Speedskating Gold

February 8, 1998

NAGANO, Japan (AP) _ Gianni Romme wound up with the world record and an Olympic gold medal in speedskating Sunday in a 5,000-meters race that showed off the strength of the Dutch as well as the new clapskates.

After watching his own world record get shattered twice in consecutive heats, Romme went last and lowered the world mark by a staggering six seconds. In all, 8 1/2 seconds were cut off Romme’s record in the Olympic race.

He finished in 6 minutes, 22.20 seconds, standing upright as he crossed the line. He whipped off his hood and thrust his arms into the air as he passed the singing, swaying Dutch fans clad in orange at the M-Wave.

Ritje Ritsma of the Netherlands got the silver. Bart Veldkamp, the former Dutchman skating under the Belgium flag, won the bronze. Both also broke Rome’s old world mark.

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