Kramer wanted this gold more than any other after giving away the longest race with an inexplicable mistake at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
But Bergsma’s finishing kick was a stunner, giving him a winning time of 12 minutes, 44.45 seconds. It was the fastest sea-level time ever and shattered the Olympic record of 12:58.55 set by South Korea’s Lee Seung-hoon four years ago.
Kramer settled for silver in 12:49.02. The bronze went to 37-year-old Bob de Jong.
It was the fourth Dutch sweep of the podium at Adler Arena, giving them 19 speedskating medals in all.
Bergsma’s last five laps were all under 30 seconds, a pace Kramer simply couldn’t match. Grimacing in a desperate search for more speed, his lap times climbed steadily higher. When the bell rang for the final lap, Bergsma already was celebrating in the infield.
On his cool-down lap, Kramer stopped to shake hands with his countryman. Yet this was a bitter disappointment for the world’s greatest distance skater, who already had captured his second straight 5,000 gold but really wanted to make up for the victory that got away in Vancouver.
During a routine crossover on the backstretch four years ago, Kramer’s coach, Gerard Kemkers, inexplicably directed him to the wrong lane. The skater dutifully followed the instructions, leading to a disqualification. Lee took the gold, even though his time was 4 seconds slower than Kramer’s.
This time, Kramer simply got beat.
“I’m still dazed,” Bergsma said. “Sven for a long time matched my (lap) times. I knew my finish was pretty fast. I knew I had a fast time. But he kept matching me for a long time. And then I realized he couldn’t hold on to those laps.”
Kramer could barely muster a smile on the podium.
“I was doing 29-second laps and was able to hold on to those late in the race,” Bergsma said. “We fought really hard for this.”
In his fifth Olympics, De Jong won his fourth 10,000 medal with a time of 13:07.19. He’s now got two bronzes to go along with a gold and a silver.
“I thought I could go a lot faster,” De Jong said. “The conditions were much tougher than I thought.”
Lee faded badly over the final laps, finishing fourth in 13:11.68.
There have only been 10 medal sweeps in all of Olympic speedskating history — four of them produced in Sochi by the amazing Dutch. They have crushed the previous record for overall medals at one games (13 by the East Germans in 1988) and tied another mark on Tuesday with their sixth victory in nine events, matching the Soviet Union’s six golds at the Squaw Valley Games in 1960.
Bergsma was feted on Twitter by his fiance, American speedskater Heather Richardson.
“GOLD in the 10k for my amazing fiance,” she wrote, “so happy for him!!!!”
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