Speed skating legend Sven Kramer could miss out on a place in the 2022 Winter Olympics after finishing third in the 5,000 meters at Dutch trials for the Beijing Games on Sunday.
Kramer, who won the last three Olympic titles at the distance, is the most decorated male Olympic speed skater of all time with nine medals.
But the 35-year-old posted a time of 6 minutes, 12.29 seconds on Sunday to finish behind Patrick Roest (6:08.64) and Jorrit Bergsma (6:11.14).
Roest, a three-time world allround champion, is assured of a ticket to Beijing and should be accompanied by Bergsma. Kramer, meanwhile, must now wait until the end of the Dutch trials on Thursday.
While the Netherlands can enter three men in the Olympic 5,000, a nation cannot enter more than nine speed skaters per gender.
Kramer must now count on certain rivals qualifying for two or three distances to be selected.
Another possibility would be for Kramer to be selected for the team pursuit event in which he won Olympic gold in 2014.
“I can be useful for the pursuit and do a good 5,000m,” insisted Kramer, who had back surgery in May,
Another Dutch legend, Ireen Wust, also failed to guarantee a place in Beijing.
The five-time Olympic champion finished third in the 1,000 on Sunday, but she can make up for it in her favorite event, the 1,500, on Wednesday.
Like Kramer, she is hoping to compete in her fifth Olympics.
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