June 24, 2018

Bloemen ends Dutch dominance in PyeongChang Games speed skating

15 February 2018, 08:42 | Henrietta Morgan

The Netherlands Jorrit Bergsma had to settle for the silver medal despite breaking the Olympic record he set to win gold at Sochi 2014

The Netherlands Jorrit Bergsma had to settle for the silver medal despite breaking the Olympic record he set to win gold at Sochi 2014

Italy's Nicola Tumolero took bronze, 14.55secs behind Bloemen.

With four golds, two silvers, and two bronzes, Sven Kramer entered the event as the most decorated male speed skater in Olympic history, buoyed by his latest triumph in the 5,000m earlier in the week... but the 10,000m remained the one title that had eluded his grasp.

Ted-Jan Bloemen finally broke the Dutch hold on the top step of the podium at the Olympic Oval.

The 31-year-old, who switched allegiance in 2015 after failing to make the Netherlands team, won in a record 12 minutes 39.77 seconds.

Skating in the final pairing, Kramer found himself nearly two seconds off the pace midway through the race.

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"Everything changed for me", he said.

Home favourite Lee Seung-Hoon, the Vancouver 2010 gold medallist, finished fourth ahead of Canada's Jordan Belchos.

The 10,000-meter men's speedskating race is the longest distance in Olympic speedskating and, unsurprisingly, is dominated by the Dutch.

Bloemen's father Gerhard-Jan was born in Bathurst, N.B., and lived in Canada for seven years before his family returned to the Netherlands.

He becomes only the second male speed skater to win individual gold for Canada at the Olympics, joining GaƩtan Boucher who won the 1,000m and 1,500m events in 1984.

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As Kramer faded in his last laps, Bloemen sat on the warmup track padding and cried before hugging his coach Bart Schouten. "Yeah, maybe you could compare, yeah", Bloemen said, pondering the idea. "It's more feelings and emotion that run through your body and your mind at that point. Imagine that feeling. It's really, really, incredible".

"It's just a really slow realization that you're becoming Olympic champion".

Bloemen expressed disappointment at not having more in the tank after the 5k, when he beat Norway's Sverre Lunde Pederson by a mere blade tip in their pairing for second place.

Arms wide open, his smile at its widest, Bloemen clenched his fists as he crossed the line. "I'm a really happy person and I've been so for a long time".

Ted-Jan Bloemen skates in the 10,000 metres at the Pyeongchang Olympics on February 15.

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