| Event type

10,000 metres, Men

Date23 February 2010 — 11:00
LocationRichmond Olympic Oval, Richmond
Participants15 from 9 countries
Olympic Record 12:58.92 WR / Jochem Uytdehaage NED / 22 February 2002
StarterÅke FalkSWE
RefereeHannu KoivuFIN

When an athlete is particularly dominant, it sometimes said that “he can only defeat himself”. Before the men’s 10,000 m, this was said of Sven Kramer. And during the race, Kramer did defeat himself.

Sven Kramer had been absolutely dominant in men’s speed skating since the 2006 Olympics. He had won nine distance world titles (winning the 5,000, 10,000 and team pursuit three times each), three World Allround titles, three European Allround titles and two long distance World Cups. Since 10 March 2007, the 10,000 m world record was in his hands, as well as five more of the 10 fastest times ever in the event. Dutch speed skating fans, always present in big numbers at major events, had already pre-filled Kramer’s name as the gold medalist.

When Kramer went to the start in the final pair, the fastest time had been set by Lee Seung-Hun. The Korean, who had already surprised with a silver in the 5,000 m, had finished in 12:58.55, slightly faster than the Olympic Record from 2002. This performance was quite remarkable, considering the fact that Lee had only twice before skated a 10,000 m, and he had beaten his personal best by some 25 seconds. Behind Lee, Ivan Skobrev of Russia and defending champion Bob de Jong held the other medal positions.

As expected, Kramer skated well under Lee’s pace, and seemed headed for his second gold medal. But after 6,600 m, Kramer’s coach Gerard Kemkers feared Kramer would be entering the wrong lane after the cross-over (skater have to change lanes each lap), and shouted for him to switch lanes. Kramer only just managed to do this, but Kemkers had been wrong, and he had directed his pupil into the wrong lane. While already fearing disqualification, Kramer still finished the race, in 12:54.50. But he was of course disqualified, and Kramer’s “certain gold” went to Lee.

Kramer was initially very angry with his coach’s mistake, and speculation arose that the two - working together since the start of Kramer’s senior career - might separate, but the two quickly discussed matters and looked forward to the team pursuit. Back home in the Netherlands, the disqualification became the tragi-comic highlight of the Winter Olympics, receiving more attention than the gold medals won by Dutch athletes in Vancouver.

15ILee Seung-HunKOR12:58.55ORGold
28OIvan SkobrevRUS13:02.07Silver
37OBob de JongNED13:06.73Bronze
46IAlexis ContinFRA13:12.11
57IHåvard BøkkoNOR13:14.92
62OSverre HaugliNOR13:18.74
73IHenrik ChristiansenNOR13:25.65
82IJonathan KuckUSA13:31.78
95OArjen van der KieftNED13:33.37
106OMarco WeberGER13:35.73
114IHiroki HirakoJPN13:37.56
121IRyan BedfordUSA13:40.20
134OAleksandr RumyantsevRUS13:45.77
143OSebastian DruszkiewiczPOL13:49.31
AC8ISven KramerNED12:54.50DQ1
DNSEnrico FabrisITA