Sven Kramer: Profile of Dutch Speedskating Olympian for Sochi 2014

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2014

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands skates in the men's 10000 meter race, during the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships 2013 in Adler-Arena in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, March 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press

Crash course: As baseball is to the United States and ice hockey is to Canada, speedskating is to the Netherlands. That country loves its heroes, and Sven Kramer was ready to fulfill that role in 2010 at the Vancouver Olympics. He won the 5,000-meter race and he seemed destined to go home with the 10,000-meter gold as well. While he dominated the field with his speed, he moved into the wrong lane on a crossover and was disqualified. Goodbye double gold; hello Bill Buckner.

Athletic profile: Kramer, 27, is one of the most decorated winter sports athletes in the world. He won a gold and bronze medal in Vancouver and two silver medals at the 2006 Olympics in Turin. He has also won six world all-around championships, as well as 13 single-distance gold medals.

Chance for redemption: The pain of his error in Vancouver has not dissipated for Kramer. He says the pursuit of Olympic gold is his sole motivation. "It is beyond question that I have to win," Kramer told a Dutch broadcast network. "That is also the reason why I am into sports." His Olympic goal is to come away with gold in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and the team pursuit (a relay-type event).

The error: Kramer bears the responsibility for the error that caused his disqualification. However, his coach Gerhard Kemkers mistakenly sent him into the wrong lane at the improper time. Kramer was immediately confused, followed his coach's advice and lost his Olympic gold.


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Rude behavior: After Kramer won the 5,000-meter gold in Vancouver, an NBC producer attempted to interview him for a packaged feature. She asked him to state his name, country and his winning event at the top of the interview. Instead of complying, he looked at her quizzically, refused the request and asked her if she was stupid (30-second mark). 

Family Affair: Kramer's father, Yep, is a Dutch speedskater who competed in the 1980s and '90s and specialized in marathon events. His sister, Brecht, is also a speedskater.

Social Profile: Kramer has a Twitter page with more than 100,000 followers. He also has a Facebook fan page with more than 40,000 likes.

Quote: "He will only get over it if he gets gold in the 10K in Sochi. If he does not win there, it will only rub more salt into the wound." —Kramer's trainer Geert Kuiper to the Associated Press.