Bergsma spearheads Orange juggernaut towards another speed skating sweep in the 10,000m
Jorrit Bergsma took gold in the men's 10,000m on Tuesday as the Netherlands swept the speed skating podium at the Sochi Olympics for the fourth time.
In yet another statement of Dutch dominance, Bergsma crossed the line in a new Olympic record time of 12min 44.45sec, ahead of Sven Kramer (12:49.02) and Bob De Jong (13:07.19).
“It is a fantastic feeling,” said Bergsma. “I knew with my current shape I could do it, but these are the Olympic Games. You have to cope with the pressure and control your nerves.”
Dutch skaters had already completed clean sweeps of the podiums in the men's 500m, 5,000m and women's 1,500m, and they have now won a staggering 19 of 27 medals up for grabs at the Adler Arena, with six gold medals out of nine events resolved by the end of Day 11.
Bergsma, 28, skated in the penultimate pair and had to watch as Kramer, racing with defending champion Lee Seung-Hoon of Republic of Korea, went last.
Kramer, who had already taken 5,000m gold, was on world record pace halfway through his race. However, he faded in the latter stages, to take silver.
“I knew with a good race I would win here,” said Bergsma. “I watched Sven Kramer. He held on for a very long time, but finally he broke.”
Bergsma on the other hand felt he had got his tactics spot on: “I wanted to go fast, but I didn't want to push it too much. I wanted to keep skating. I was able to do that until the end, and that is a fantastic feeling.”
Silver lining for Kramer
Kramer's silver means he now has six Olympic medals -- equalling the Dutch record for the Winter Games held by Ireen Wüst and Rintje Ritsma – but that appeared scant consolation in the immediate term, as he admitted he had his heart set on another gold.
“I knew when I started that Jorrit Bergsma set a really fast time, he just did a really good job,” said Kramer.
“My race just was not good enough,” he added. "I couldn't find the rhythm and I couldn't find the flow. I'm in good shape, but today too many little things were going wrong.”
“Being satisfied with silver is not my view on top sport. That is not why I train, that is not why I race. I race to win.”
Meanwhile bronze medallist De Jong became the first male speed skater to win at least one medal at four different editions of the Winter Olympic Games.
And at the age of 37, he is also the oldest male speed skater to win an Olympic medal in 86 years.