Ice king Sven Kramer distanced at the Olympic farewell

Sven Kramer, top star of the speed skating superpower Netherlands, has started his final Olympic mission.

Officially, there is only one regent in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On the throne sits Willem-Alexander, the Prince of Orange-Nassau and Jonkheer van Amsberg, like many of his compatriots, is very enthusiastic about sports.

In winter, when canals freeze on cold nights and people buckle on skids between Groningen and Rotterdam, the nation has often looked up to someone else for more than ten years: Sven Kramer.

The top star of the speed skating superpower Netherlands is the king of the “Schatsens”. In Beijing he abdicates. The Olympic Winter Games in China are the final act of an outstanding career. On Sunday he ran 5000 m for the last time on his special course.

Olympia: Kramer outperformed on his special course

Kramer has won gold over the short distance three times in a row, over which he has also been world champion eight times. No speed skater has ever been more successful in the 5000m. His best days as an athlete are numbered, at least on the individual distance. It wasn’t enough for the very front.

In 6:17.04 minutes, Kramer had to settle for ninth place. “It wasn’t a good run. I had to work too much,” said Kramer. The fight for gold was “unrealistic” anyway: “It was difficult for me to qualify.”

The many years on the ice have left their mark on the 35-year-old. The exceptional athlete has had a hard time with his back for years. A spinal operation in the summer should relieve him of chronic pain. The season was correspondingly bumpy. Kramer has lost its former dominance.

With the fifth Olympic victory, Kramer is still planning: Gold is the goal in the team pursuit. His third appearance, the mass start on the final weekend of the Winter Games, is an encore. It will be the last race in Kramer’s long career.


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