Canada's Ted-Jan Bloemen wins gold in 10,000 speed skating
Canadian Bloemen is world-record holder in the event
By Pete Evans, CBC Sports
Canada's Ted-Jan Bloemen has won a gold medal in men's 10,000-metre speed skating at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Bloemen put down an Olympic-record time of 12 minutes 39:77 seconds in his heat, good enough for first place, with two skaters to go.
One of those to come was Dutch rival Sven Kramer, one of the most decorated long-distance speed skaters in history. But Kramer's performance was well off his usual high standards, as he finished a distant sixth — more than 20 seconds behind Bloemen.
Kramer has dominated the gruelling race at every competition except the Olympics, where he has now fallen short four times. He's a seven-time Olympic medallist at other distances, though.
Defending champion Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands put in a strong performance for silver and Italian Nicola Tumolero took the bronze medal.
Bloemen was born in the Netherlands, but moved to Calgary four years ago to skate for Canada because he was frustrated by a lack of support from the Dutch program.
Bloemen has Canadian citizenship through his father, Gerhard-Jan, who was born in Bathurst, N.B., and lived in the country for seven years.
WATCH l Ted-Jan Bloemen reacts after his win
"I wouldn't want it any other way," an ecstatic Bloemen said after the race of his decision to leave the powerhouse Dutch program and skate for his adopted home. "I have such a great team around me, I'm so proud and so grateful to them."
Bloemen won a silver earlier at the Games in South Korea, at the 5,000-metre distance, and was the world-record holder at 10,000 entering the competition.
He becomes the first Canadian man to win a medal in the event since 1932, when Winnipegger Frank Stack won a bronze in Lake Placid, N.Y.
"I always felt from deep inside that I was able to do something special on the ice, but I was never able to show it," Bloemen said after the race. "I had to find a different way to do it because I found I hit a wall in my career."
"I found that different way and got way more than I ever would have hoped."
WATCH | Bloemen's post-race comments here:
Dutch sweep ends
Bloeman has also now broken the Dutch dominance of long track at these Games. Coming into the race, a Dutch athlete had taken gold at all five long-track events already completed at these Games. Now they are five out of six.
Toronto's Jordan Belchos also competed in the race, and finished fifth with a career-best time of 12:59.51.
Both Canadian men will skate again in the team pursuit event on Feb. 21.
With files from The Canadian Press