Sven Kramer wins 3rd straight Olympic gold in 5,000 meters

Coach Jac Orie of The Netherlands encourages Sven Kramer of The Netherlands during the men's 5,000 meters race at the Gangneung Oval at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/John Locher)

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) There is just no stopping Sven Kramer over 5,000 meters at the Olympics.

The Dutch speedskater won his third straight gold medal in the distance at the Pyeongchang Games on Sunday, and he set an Olympic record along the way.

Kramer also gave the Netherlands its second gold medal in as many races at the Olympic oval. This time, though, it was no sweep like in the women’s 3,000.

Kramer’s two other teammates disappointed and finished outside the top six.

Instead, Dutch-born Canadian Ted-Jan Bloemen fought back with a desperate drive to the line to kick his skate just in front of Sverre Lunde Pedersen and beat the Norwegian by .0002 seconds for silver.

While others were counting in thousandths of seconds, Kramer was aiming higher, beating his rivals by 1.85 seconds. Skating last as the favorite, he knew what time to chase for gold.

”Of course, it makes a difference if you know the times beforehand, but you still have to do it,” Kramer said.

The Dutchman used his typical late kick to make the difference, taking the lead two-thirds of the way through the race and letting his massive stride do the rest to finish in 6 minutes, 9.76 seconds, beating the Olympic record he set four years ago at the Sochi Games by exactly one second.

Once across the line, relief struck his face and held up three fingers. The orange-clad fans in the stands went wild.

At 31, Kramer is now among the all-time greats at the Olympics with four gold and eight medals overall. The triple in the 5,000 is special, though.

”It sounds great, of course. I’d be lying if I said it does nothing to me,” Kramer said. ”Secretly, I’m proud.”

And he has no plans to stop there. Kramer is looking for two more gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games, starting with the 10,000 next Thursday and capping it with the team pursuit, where the Dutch are overwhelming favorites.

So for now, he will keep the celebrations muted.

”I still have to do the 10 and the team pursuit and the mass start, so I’m not going to the Holland Heineken House,” Kramer said, referring to the place where Dutch speedskating gold medals are always wildly celebrated.

More AP Olympic coverage: https://wintergames.ap.org

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