Speed Skating

Chris Iorfida - Thursday Feb. 6, 2014 22:02 ET

Sven Kramer looks to begin error-free Olympics in speed skating

Dutch star rubbed some the wrong way in Vancouver

Sven Kramer speaks to reporters in Sochi.

Sven Kramer speaks to reporters in Sochi on Wednesday. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

The long track speed skating competition gets underway Saturday at Adler Arena in Sochi, and who better to be featured first than Sven Kramer?

Kramer, 27, will try to repeat as 5,000 metre Olympic gold medallist.

But there's also a sense of unfinished business for the skating star, who comes in with four career Olympic medals.

The Dutchman was one of the top stories of the Vancouver Olympics four years ago, but not in a good way.

Yes, he won the 5,000, but he also was disqualified in the 10,000 in large part due to his coach’s error, and he was part of a pursuit team that settled for bronze despite being favoured to win.

To top it off, he famously responded to a local American TV reporter’s request to identify himself into the camera with the pithy rejoinder: “Are you stupid?”

Humility might not be his strong suit, but no one goes faster over a long distance in a skin suit.

He's won all three World Cup races entered at the distance this year, in addition to victories in the 5,000 at last year’s single distance and allround championships.

Giroux lone Canadian

He holds both the Olympic and world record, though few observers expect to see many new marks set at the seaside Sochi track.

Compatriot Jorrit Bergsma won the World Cup race Kramer didn’t enter this season, while other contenders include Seung-Hoon Lee of South Korea, Alexis Contin of France, and Patrick Beckert of Germany.

The lone Canadian entrant will be Mathieu Giroux of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Que. He was part of Canada’s upset win at the Vancouver Games in team pursuit. His best time this season is 6:26.69.

Olympic record: Sven Kramer, 6:14.60, Vancouver, Feb. 13, 2010
World record: Sven Kramer, 6:03.32, Calgary, Nov. 17, 2007

Olympic long track schedule: 

  • Saturday, Feb. 8: Men's 5,000
  • Sunday, Feb. 9: Women's 3,000
  • Monday, Feb. 10: Men's 500
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11: Women's 500
  • Wednesday, Feb. 12: Men's 1,000
  • Thursday, Feb. 13: Women's 1,000
  • Saturday, Feb. 15: Men's 1,500
  • Sunday, Feb. 16: Women's 1500
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18: Men's 10,000
  • Wednesday, Feb. 19: Women's 5,000
  • Friday Feb. 21: Team pursuit qualification
  • Saturday, Feb. 22: Team pursuit semis, final

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