Sven Kramer of the Netherlands skated his way into the record books at PyeongChang 2018 on Sunday 11 February, winning his third consecutive Olympic gold medal in the men’s 5,000m.
In becoming the first man to win three golds in the same speed skating event at the Olympic Winter Games, the 31-year-old Kramer produced a typically flawless performance to post a new Olympic record of 6:09.76 and finish nearly two seconds clear of Canada’s Ted-Jan Bloemen. Norway’s Sverre Lunde Pedersen came in just two thousandths of a second adrift of Bloemen in bronze, the pair having faced off in a heat that ended in a dramatic photo finish.
Kramer, who also won a team pursuit gold at Sochi 2014, now has eight Olympic medals to his name and will be eyeing more at PyeongChang 2018, having entered four other competitions.
A runner-up in the 5,000m at Turin 2006, the Dutchman is the second male speed skater to win four Olympic medals in a single event, following in the footsteps of compatriot Bob de Jong, who achieved the feat in the men’s 10,000m.
“I’ve won a lot and lost a lot, but this is really special for me,” Kramer said after completing his golden hat-trick. “Breaking the Olympic record is amazing. I keep on progressing every four years, and that’s nice to see.”
Drawn in the tenth of the 11 pairs, Kramer added: “I was a bit lucky that most of the skaters skated in front of me, and they started really fast, with 28 seconds. I kept in the low 29s and that brought me to this time.”
The world record holder in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, silver-medallist Bloemen said: “I’m happy with the way I fought and I’m already getting over the fact I missed out on first place. Obviously I’d rather have won but being on the podium at the Olympics is amazing, and I don’t think it’ll be long before I start feeling really proud of this.”
Commenting on the first Olympic medal of his career, Norwegian Pedersen said: “It’s unbelievable. I’ve been dreaming of this so long and working so hard, and now finally I achieved it. It’s amazing. It means everything. It was my main goal for this season and for my whole career too.”