Aged just 20, he made his first Olympic appearance at the 2006 Games in Turin. A successful début, as he won silver in the 5,000m. In the team pursuit, the Dutch were the favourites. When they were leading in the semi-final against Italy, Sven fell, taking his team-mate with him. Beaten, the Dutchmen then competed for third place, and beat Norway. A second Olympic medal for Sven.
During the four years which separated the Turin Games from those in Vancouver in 2010, Sven Kramer became one of the best skaters in the world, winning more than 10 world championship titles and setting several world records. Although competing over all the distances, the 5,000m and 10,000m were his best. He was also a key figure in the national team in the team pursuit event.
In 2010, the Vancouver Games were set to be the pinnacle of this Heerenveen-born skater’s career, with no fewer than three Olympic titles in his sights. Everything started well with the 5,000m, in which he beat his compatriot, Jochem Uytdehaage, and set a new world record.
In the 10,000m, Sven finished first. He thought he had just won his second Olympic medal, but a few minutes later, his expectations were shattered. He was disqualified for choosing the wrong lane just after halfway through the race. Following the mistaken orders of his coach, the skater had taken the inside rather than the outside lane. The subsequent conversation between the athlete and his coach must have been a tense affair.
A few days later, Sven was able to dry his tears with his team mates in the team pursuit event. Everything went well until the semi-final, where they were beaten by the USA by three-tenths of a second. As they had four years before, the Dutch beat the Norwegians for third place. Thus, aged just 24, Sven Kramer already has four Olympic medals.