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Nuis wins men’s 1,000-meter crown; Oda finishes fifth

by Jack Gallagher

Staff Writer

Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands captured the gold medal in the men’s 1,000-meter speedskating event at the Gangneung Oval on Friday night.

The 28-year-old Dutchman won the Olympic title by just 0.04 of a second in a time of 1 minute, 7.95 seconds, to claim his second gold here after winning the 1,500 meters on Feb. 13.

Norway’s Havard Lorentzen took the silver medal in 1:07.99, with Korea’s Kim Tae-yun getting the bronze in 1:08.22.

Nuis, who is a native of Leiden, Netherlands, skated in the last of the 18 pairs on the night, against Finland’s Mika Poutala, and saved the drama for the very final seconds. Nuis flew off the last turn and churned down the home stretch to cross the line with just enough juice to get the gold.

Nuis is just the third man to win both the 1,000 and 1,500 at the same Olympics, after American Eric Heiden (1980) and Canada’s Gaetan Boucher (1984).

The world champion at 1,000, Nuis survived a false start in his race and was more relieved than happy afterward.

“The 1,500 (gold medal) was a victory and this is relief,” Nuis stated. “I was psyched to get this one. I really felt the tension today and after the false start the nerves were running through my body, but now it doesn’t matter any more.”

Nuis said he was glad he could cope with the pressure again on such a big stage.

“I’m most proud of keeping my nerves under control,” Nuis commented. “That was my victory today.”

American Joey Mantia finished fourth in 1:08.564, while Japan’s Takuro Oda was fifth on 1:08.568.

Shani Davis of the U.S., the world record-holder in the 1,000, who was the gold medalist at this distance at both the Turin and Vancouver Olympics, ended up seventh in 1:08.78.

Tsubasa Hasegawa came in 20th at 1:09.83, while Daichi Yamanaka was 24th in 1:10.027.