GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) - Having already made history, Dutch speed skater Sven Kramer has no intention of resting on his laurels.
The 31-year-old became the first male speed skater to get a third consecutive gold medal in the same event at the Olympics when he outlasted the competition to win the 5,000 meters on Sunday but his thoughts have already turned to the one that got away.
Eight years ago, at the Vancouver Games, Kramer made a mistake that cost him a gold medal in the 10,000m, and victory in the longest Olympic speed skating distance has continued to elude him on the world’s biggest stage.
Despite crossing the finish line first in Vancouver, Kramer was disqualified for choosing the wrong lane. He had to settle for silver at the Sochi Games four years ago after finishing behind team mate Jorrit Bergsma.
“I think it’s not a secret that it’s really important to me,” he said after his 5,000m gold. “It’s really, really difficult. I’ve won a lot at the Olympics but I’ve lost a lot as well.”
Kramer has won the 10,000m on five occasions at the world single distance championships and broken the world record three times.
He is determined to do his best in Thursday’s race here, where he will come up against defending Olympic champion Bergsma and current world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada, who finished with silver in the 5,000m on Sunday.
“I’m looking forward already to the next distance,” Kramer said. “For sure it’s nice to have three gold medals in a row in the 5,000m.
“It’s nice to be here, it’s nice to make history but now I’m really going to try and recover as soon as possible from this and I’m looking forward to the next competition.”
Kramer will go down in the history books as one of the greatest-ever Winter Olympians but his appetite for success is undiminished and, along with the 10,000m, he will also race in the team pursuit and mass start in South Korea.
“I think my secret is that I’m really enjoying the sport and I really love what I’m doing,” he said.
“We work really hard and, don’t understand me wrong, it’s pretty tough sometimes, but in the end I really love what I’m doing and I think that’s a big secret to keep motivated every day.”
Editing by Clare Fallon