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Kramer loses 10,000m gold after error

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Top favourite Sven Kramer was disqualified from the 10,000m speed skating event at the Winter Olympics after making a wrong lane change.

The mistake which cost him the gold medal came half way through the race when Kramer moved to the inside lane too early after a signal from coach Gerard Kemkers.

'I thought I was right but you have to take a decision within a few seconds so I moved to the inside lane,' an emotional Kramer said after the event.

The move took Kramer into the same lane as the Russian Ivan Skobrev, and he quickly realised it had been a mistake. 'I felt it in the stadium atmosphere,' the Volkskrant quoted him as saying.


Coach Kemkers immediately took the blame. 'When I realised I was wrong, my world collapsed,' he was reported as saying.

Without the mistake, Kramer would have been the clear winner in the event - he was almost five seconds faster than the South Korean Sheung-Hoon Lee, who took gold.

Silver went to Skobrev and bronze to Dutchman and defending champion Bob de Jong.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (36)

As a Korean I feel the Gold Medal should go to Sven. Lee was already satisfied with 2nd place with new record at that point. Koreans lost to medals in short track by mistake too in last lap.

By David | February 24, 2010 4:29 AM

I am so sorry for both Sven Kramer and Gerard Kemkers. It was with wonder and awe that I have watched the progress of both athlete and coach over the years. I can only hope that the world realizes that the performance by Sven of almost 5 seconds faster than the new Olympic record was actually recorded, regardless of whether the medal was actually received. He is still a champion and always will be.

By Jani | February 24, 2010 7:18 AM

I thought he said "within a slice of a second" or "within a fraction of a second". A few seconds would be enough to make a decision. I saw how it happened. Pity...

By kostya | February 24, 2010 7:43 AM

@Jani: How could it have been *any* kind of record, as Sven didn't skate the full distance, since he mistakenly took the inside track ( = shorter)?

By YoMamma | February 24, 2010 9:01 AM

Sven really won the Gold! We all know it! The Olympics Committee should have given him the Gold for which he skated so well! Sven, keep skating and keep winning. Fire that coach that cost you the Gold! We are your fans, Sven and we know you are by far the BEST!

By Ron Randall | February 24, 2010 1:31 PM

He is pompous and, apparently, can't count. He calls a reporter stupid for not knowing who he is (why would she?), but fails to take control of his race at the premier event in the world. He may be well-known in his part of the world but, everywhere else, he’s just another athlete being introduced to the world on the Olympic stage. The Olympics have a way of rewarding likeable athletes who are humble and show redeeming qualities. Sven’s nasty attitude and sense of self-importance have brought him everything he deserves. He should take a lesson from Bode Miller’s book and get his act together before Sochi.

By Billy | February 24, 2010 2:47 PM

to YoMamma: It was a record because if you look at the statistics per lap, Sven was ahead at the end of each of the lap times that the gold medal winner had. AND Sven continued to be ahead through all of the laps and ended up almost 5 seconds ahead. Those 5 seconds cannot have happened simply because he mistakenly took a "shortcut."

By Jani | February 24, 2010 2:49 PM

Please fire the coach! His only job was to help the athlete. This is awful for all Dutch people.

By edward Ryan | February 24, 2010 3:25 PM

Two items: The coach should be fired.
What are the judges for? Should they not have have decided this.

By James | February 24, 2010 3:32 PM

How sad for everyone. As one who loves Holland and anything Dutch, I hurt for them. Such an early time in his life to find out that life isn't always fair, and how to build on this information. There is no way to make this up to him, but hopefully the life lesson will be applied as he moves on and shows the world how fast he is, and IS A WINNER, GOLD OR NOT.

By barbara | February 24, 2010 3:44 PM

A few days ago Sven called an NBC reporter stupid.
Who's stupid now Sven?

By Mary | February 24, 2010 3:48 PM

Glad to hear about the disqualification. It's about time someone else has a chance to win a gold medal for a change.

By rolexx | February 24, 2010 4:08 PM

I am a Korean, and although I didn't get to watch the game live I have read full coverages of the incident. I have to admit that Kramer is the best skater in both 5000m and 10000m, but our skater didn't win the race in vain. it would have been very close if kramer stayed on his lane but unfortunately unexpected happened. wish him all the best in coming years as he has great potential and experience to win more races. additionally, dutch fans (orange army)were one class above the rest. they were not only classy but supportative of every skaters. a lot of koreans are appreciating them for cheering lee as well.

By Peter Park | February 24, 2010 4:11 PM

Sven did not skate the required distance so he should be DQ'd.

Saying that he should get the gold is like saying that a guy who ran 90 meters of a 100 meter race should win because he ran the 90 meters faster than anyone else and WOULD have won.

By edward | February 24, 2010 4:16 PM

Looks to me like a "fix" was in to ensure that kramer does not win. Somebody got to the coach and made him an offer he could not refuse; or, the coach is a gambling man.

By Tom | February 24, 2010 4:56 PM

I'm not a big skating fan but he was hard done by. when your at that level working so hard and yes he was in the right lane, then what do you do if your coach asks you to change lanes!! Also if any body asked me in the way the reporter asked, being a gold medalist. Then i would have said the same. Lazy people not doing there home work or should I say Americans always expecting others to do it for them.

By English1 | February 24, 2010 4:59 PM

I.m sorry on his behalf, but they all have to follow the rules.

By rolf hanssen | February 24, 2010 5:28 PM

The reason the reporter asked his name and country was for identification purposes on the tape. The reporter >knew< who he was and what country he was from.

By Skydancer | February 24, 2010 5:30 PM


This kind of screw up couldn't have happened to a better guy. Sven's "stupid" comment to a reporter than telling that same reporter "hell no" made his "stupid" mistake extremely enjoyable to watch and read about.

I don't know much at all about speed skating since it's pretty much a non-sport here in North America, and couldn't care less about how popular it is in the Netherlands, but Sven's rude comments did make me pay attention to speed skating and his utter failure made it most entertaining.

Looks like a typical young man who deserves what he earned.


By Mike G | February 24, 2010 5:34 PM

Sven won the race, the Korean won the medal. It's devastating for Sven, but also hard for the Korean to take gold when clearly he didn't earn it. I guess gold was the gift for earning silver!

By Jo-Anne | February 24, 2010 5:35 PM

Why is this so tragic for the Dutch nation?! This is between a coach and his athlete and other competitors. It's an ILLUSION that you share in this defeat anymore than you would a victory.

By Jeff | February 24, 2010 5:35 PM

This is the Olympics and as we all know, it has it's good moments and it's bad. For Sven, he has had both. Learn from your mistakes and go forward. I am sure your coach feels bad enough with this mistake, so have some compassion please. As far as Sven calling people stupid, well, what comes around, goes around. Put on your big boy pants and deal with it. I agree with you Billy.

By Kim | February 24, 2010 5:37 PM

Don't worry all the reporters will know who you are now.

By Dann | February 24, 2010 5:52 PM

Part of a reporter's job is to research. It only reinforced the stereotype that Americans are conceited and can't be arsed to know about anything that isn't American.

By CW | February 24, 2010 5:57 PM

Fire the coach?? What is wrong with you people? Have you never made a mistake before? What about 2nd chances? You people, and it seems Sven also, are very very sore losers!! Seems Karma has had a way with Sven here!

By Tom | February 24, 2010 6:00 PM

HA HA HA.....good for Sven to call the NBC reporter stupid. Some people are just stupid, nothing wrong with that. Sven's coach had an ignorant moment, maybe a lapse in judgement. HUP HUP HOLLAND!!! It is a bummer Sven was disqualified.

By JJ | February 24, 2010 6:22 PM

As an American, I didn't know who Sven was before this Olympics. After the mistake yesterday, I'll never be able to forget him. I feel so badly for Sven and Kemkers and for all of the Dutch fans. If there is any redemption in this, it is that now Sven Kramer is even more well known - more unforgettable - around the world than he would have been with a gold medal.

By Lori @ Just Pure Lovely | February 24, 2010 6:27 PM

What a devastating feeling to lose the gold because of an error in judgement by the coach. For those that are critical of Sven's reaction to his loss, have you forgotten how often the olympics are held, and what it takes to prepare for these events?

By arnoldo | February 24, 2010 6:34 PM

Losing that way is a crime. But, as they say in the USA, mistakes are as much a part of the game as anything else. If the other racing athlete's had ANY HONOR, they all would not have accepted any medals and forced a re-race.

By Tim Owens | February 24, 2010 7:36 PM

Some very sad reactions by people who are happy this happened. Especially when those people judge him by a 20 second interview. Sven is the opposite of arrogant and pompous. He has the utmost respect for his opponents.
Of course the disqualification was deserved, but that doesn't change the fact that he is the fastest skater on this distance. Still nice that a Korean skater got gold. A few years ago that seemed impossible. It makes the sport more interesting.

By pepe | February 24, 2010 8:03 PM

Sven will always be the gold medal winner in our hearts and souls in Nederland!

By Sandrav | February 24, 2010 8:03 PM

I am interested in knowing if he really would have won the gold medal if he made the proper lane change. He did skate a shorter race than the rest of the competitors. What a bonehead move by the coach... probably cost Sven plenty in endorsement $$. Somebody will be losing their job over this,

By david | February 24, 2010 8:06 PM

How devastating for both Sven and his coach. I guess Sven has to take ultimate responsibility for mistake but surely understandable instinct to rely on coach. What a challenge it will be for Sven and his coach to accept this situation now and later without debilitating anger, whether the anger is the coach's anger at himself, or Sven's at the coach. We all know it's human to err, but how tragic that it had to be on such a stage and at such a moment. Makes our bad days at work seem pretty mild.

By Sam Pryor | February 24, 2010 9:06 PM

Regardless of whether he was fastest or slowest - he was disqualified becasue of a wrong lane change. He has no claim on the gold, silver or bronze and the athletes that won those medals should be proud to have completed the race without breaking the rules.
shame on you sven... silly mistake and you and your fans have to wear it! who's stupid now?

By ramjet | February 25, 2010 3:03 AM

Kramer AND his coach made a mistake. Shouldn't he have had the brains to know what lane to be in at an Olympic event? Who is the stupid one?

He was a rude boor towards the NBC journalist who only wanted him to say his name etc. as an introduction to a clip. He reacted with stupidity and arrogance and made a fool of himself. And then he made a bigger fool of himself by making a dumb mistake during an Olympic skate.

Mistakes are why some athletes are better than others and he lost because of it.

He didn't deserve to win.

By reprogrammer | February 25, 2010 7:25 AM

You shoud be proud of Kramer and his achievements. He is very well known and respected here in Canada. Yes mistakes happened with him and his coach but if you were here in the oval you would understand why it happened. The cheering was too loud for anyone to hear anything thus a much respected coach has to change his approach in signalling his athlete and took away his attention and focus for a second on what is happening on the track. There are more races ahead, this mistake should not be an end to a wonderful talent nor an end to a successful coaching career (His athlete won gold and more). As they say what does not kill you will make you stronger. Just in case you penalize them for such mistake, Canada will welcome them with open arms. As to his response to the interviewer it was really a non issue, it was a stupid question - congratulating an athlete and asking his name after? Duh?

By Betty | March 11, 2010 10:34 PM

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