Esmee Visser is surprise winner of 5,000 metres gold medal

Esmee Visser is surprise winner of 5,000 metres gold medal

Esmee Visser, skating in her first Olympics at the age of 21, beat one of the greats of women’s distance speed skating on Friday, clinching the 5,000 metres gold medal in a time of 6.50.23 ‘It is really fantastic, I don’t know what to say,’ Visser said after her surprise victory. The Czech Republic’s Martina Sábliková, who took the title in 2010 and 2014, won silver and Natalia Voronina of Russia the bronze. Visser, who covered the distance 12 seconds slower at the Dutch championships in October, is not backed by a commercial team and has spent her time preparing for the games with junior skaters in Groningen, broadcaster NOS said. Visser is only the second Dutch woman to win Olympic gold at the distance.  The first was Yvonne van Gennip at the Calgary Olympics 30 years ago. The Netherlands has now won gold in six of the seven speed skating events so far.   More >

Mudslinging starts over race fixing

Dutch football coach Bert van Marwijk joins Australia for the World Cup A major row has erupted in the Dutch skating world over who leaked what to the Volkskrant newspaper about the formal warning for race fixing given to Jorrit Bergsma's coach at the Sochi Olympics. The Volkskrant reported on Thursday morning that Jillert Anema, who was coaching the French team pursuit team in 2014, had tried to get the Dutch team to slow the pace in their race so as not to threaten the French team's funding. Anema also coaches Jorrit Bergsma, who was defending his Olympic 10 kilometre speed skating title later in the day and skating fans were furious about the timing of the publication. In the event, Bergsma lost the title to Canada's Ted-Jan Bloemen. Sven Kramer, Bergsma's arch rival who had been hoping to take the gold medal, was sixth. Bergsma, interviewed by NOS radio after winning silver in the 10,000 metres, implied that arch rival Sven Kramer was behind the leak. 'It is obvious where it comes from. There is only one person who would want to upset our team and myself,' Bergsma said. Asked if it was Kramer, he answered 'that is quite clear. It would not be the first time.' Interview The Volkskrant, which broke the initial story, blames the Dutch sports body instead. In a website article responding to readers about the timing of the publication, the paper's ombudsman said the NOC*NSF had sent a reaction to a more general interview with Anema at midnight Korean time. 'So we turned the interview into a news artice,' the ombudsman said. 'We could have waited to publish but that did not feel right. The timing of the publication is a consequence of the NOC*NSF's action. The organisation could have waited a day if it had wanted to protect its skater.' The paper said it had been aware that Anema had been given an official warning 'at some point in the past few years'. Bergsma later apologised for his comments. 'I was wrong and I have told the Kramer camp that,' he told television programme Studio Sport.  More >

Bergsma wins silver in 10k race

Disappointment for Dutch in 10k race, Bergsma takes silver, Kramer is 6th Defending Olympic champion Jorrit Bergsma had to be content with the silver medal in the men's 10 kilometre speed skating event on Thursday, even though he set a new Olympic record during his heat. The gold went to Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada in a time of 12.39.77, just under that of Bergsma and, therefore, a second new Olympic record of the event. The bronze went to Italy's Nicola Tumolero. Sven Kramer finished a disappointing sixth. 'I felt from the word go that things were not right,' the 31-year-old told broadcaster NOS after the race. 'I've done everything I could for years, but it just was not good enough.' Olympic gold in the 10 kilometre race is the only major title to elude Kramer, who finished second to Bergsma in Sochi and was disqualified in Vancouver for a wrong lane change. The Canadian win does have a distinctly Dutch tinge. Bloemen, who came second to Kramer in the 5,000 metres, was born in Gouda but moved to Canada to compete for the Canadian national team in 2014 - he was able to compete for Canada because his father is a dual national. The 10 kilometre race is the only one of the speed skating events of the tournament so far in which the Netherlands has not taken the gold medal.  More >

Dutch skating coach 'tried to fix race'

Dutch skating coach tried to influence Sochi race, to protect his French team A Dutch skating coach, who was coaching the French team pursuit team at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, tried to get the Dutch team to slow the pace in their race, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday. Jillert Anema was given an official warning by the Dutch Olympic committee NOC*NSF for trying to influence the race in order to protect the French team's sponsorship, the paper said. The Dutch sports body has confirmed that Anema was given a written warning about his behaviour in Sochi. Anema is said to have approached the Dutch pursuit team coach Arie Koops and asked him not to let his squad skate too fast because one of the French team was sick and not up to skating. If the Dutch overtook the French team, they could lose not only face, but financial support, Anema is reported to have said. Koops rejected the appeal outright and reported Anema to the Dutch sports body. The Netherlands went on to win gold. The timing of today's revelation is opportune because Anema also coaches Jorrit Bergsma, who is defending his Olympic 10 kilometre speed skating title later on Thursday. Jeroen Bijl, who heads the Dutch mission to the Olympic games in Korea, has said the timing of the Volkskrant story is 'a disturbance and bad for the team'.  More >

Jorien ter Mors adds to gold medal tally

Golden girl Jorien ter Mors adds to Dutch Olympic medal tally Jorien ter Mors won the fifth Dutch gold medal of the winter Olympics so far on Wednesday, setting a new Olympic record in the 1,000 metres speed skating event. Ter Mors, who won gold in the 1,500 metres in Sochi, completed the distance in 1.13.56. Silver and bronze went to Japan’s Nao Kodaira and Miho Takagi. 'I don't know what else I could have done. I think it was the perfect race,' Ter Mors told broadcaster NOS. 'I felt great, I did all I could, then it was just a question of waiting. I'm super happy.' Dutch media described the win as a triumph for Ter Mors, who started the season with a knee injury and had to pull out of the World Cup with back trouble. Ireen Wüst, who took gold in the 1,500 metres earlier in the competition, was ninth and Marrit Leenstra finished in sixth place. The Netherlands is currently second in the medal table, behind Germany, with five gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Tomorrow is the men's 10,000 metres speed skating event with Sven Kramer and Jorrit Bergsma.  More >