GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - The Netherlands’ Sven Kramer skated to his third consecutive men’s 5,000-meter Olympic gold at the Pyeongchang Games on Sunday, further confirming his place among the greats of the sport.
The 31-year-old crossed the line at the Gangneung Oval in 6 minutes, 9.76 seconds, beating 5,000 world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada and Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen by 1.85 seconds.
“It’s amazing. Every four years I still have progression, and that’s nice to see,” said the Dutchman. “I’ve won a lot and lost a lot, but this is really special for me.”
The silver and bronze winners, both first-time Olympic medalists, needed a photo review to determine that the Netherlands-born Canadian broke the timing beam two-thousandths of a second ahead.
“It was a good race — not a super-race but a really good race,” said Pedersen. “I had a nice fight with Bloemen. It was a little pity that he beat me by, I don’t know how many thousandths, but at the end, I’m very happy for the medal.”
For Kramer, the gold medal is the fourth of his career. It is also his eighth total medal — the most of any male speed skater in Olympic history and the most of any Dutch male athlete at the Summer or Winter Games. The win extended his six-year unbeaten run in international competition over the distance.
South Korea’s Lee Seung-hoon, pushed on by a roaring home crowd, skated his fastest three laps at the end of his race, overhauling Belgium’s Bart Swings to give himself the provisional lead. He was only topped by New Zealand’s Peter Michael and the medalists.
Japan’s Seitaro Ichinohe won his pairing with a 6:16.55 time, as did Ryosuke Tsuchiya in 6:22.45, but both finished well back, in ninth and 16th, respectively.