Dutch triple looming large in men’s 10,000 meters
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Sven Kramer is going for the gold medal he inexplicably threw away four years ago when he was disqualified for a bad lane change late in the 10,000 meters.
Unlike the Vancouver Olympics, when South Korean Lee Seung-hoon profited from Kramer’s error, Tuesday’s final is set to be dominated by Dutch only.
Here are five things to watch for in the men’s 10,000 meters at the Adler Arena (and most have a Dutch flavor):
KRAMER’S COMEBACK: The error was beyond belief. Late in the race at the 2010 Vancouver Games, Kramer took the advice of his coach and skated into the wrong lane. He was destined to win and suddenly the greatest skater of his age found himself disqualified instead. Now he’s back and bent on setting things right. He has the form, and a 5,000 meters gold medal to prove it. He wants that 10,000 gold so badly that he forfeited the 1,500 to fully concentrate on Tuesday’s race. And he still has the team pursuit to come for a chance to win three gold medals in Sochi.
AGELESS DE JONG: At 37, Bob de Jong just keeps on skating. He won the silver medal over the longest race in speedskating back at the 1998 Nagano Games and added gold eight years ago in Turin. He got a full set of medals in Vancouver, where Kramer’s DQ pushed him into the bronze. Always unpredictable, De Jong is counting on one last blast for an unlikely gold. If he gets a medal, he would be the oldest male speedskater to earn a podium spot in 86 years.
BERGSMA SPOILER? These games seem set for Kramer’s triple gold, but don’t discount marathon skater Jorrit Bergsma. He already beat Kramer at the Adler Arena last year to win the world championships over the distance. He fell somewhat short over the 5,000 when he only managed bronze.
MORE GOLDEN ORANGE: Will it ever stop? The Dutch are favored to sweep again, which would be the fourth such triple since they also took the men’s 500 and 5,000 and the women’s 1,500. Currently the Dutch have 16 of 24 medals on the long track.
NO SHOWS: It is as if the strong Dutch showing is scaring everyone else off. Over the past days, Vancouver silver medalist Ivan Skobrev of Russia pulled out and the entire Norwegian team withdrew, preferring to concentrate on the team pursuit and not waste their energy on the 10K. “It doesn’t matter. I had not really counted on them,” Kramer said of the Norwegians.
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