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Van der Poel completes Olympic double with 10,000m world record

Sweden's Nils van der Poel skated to a 10,000 metres world record to complete an Olympic gold medal distance double at the Beijing Games on Friday.

Beijing, 11 February 2022 (dpa/MIA) — Sweden’s Nils van der Poel skated to a 10,000 metres world record to complete an Olympic gold medal distance double at the Beijing Games on Friday.

Van der Poel, who took two years away from speed skating after the 2018 Olympics, took 2.21 seconds off his own record from 2021 to get the gold in a stunning 12 minutes 30.74 seconds.

Like in Sunday’s 5,000m, he beat Dutchman Patrick Roest for the gold, by a huge margin of almost 14 seconds as Roest clocked 12:44.59 earlier in the competition to take another silver.

Davide Ghiotto made the most out of skating against van der Poel to get bronze in an Italian record 12:45.98 seconds.

“Going in, I thought I should be set to beat second. I was sticking to going after that. I didn’t want to risk going too hard too early. With five laps to go I felt like the world record was in reach so I just went for that,” van der Poel said.

“I am very satisfied. This was the main goal when I started three years ago. It turned out a lot better than I could have ever imagined.”

Roest said: “It is not my best distance. I am very happy to be on the podium. It means a lot. I had a better chance in the 5,000m, where I got silver.”

Van der Poel emulated compatriot Tomas Gustafson (1988) with the Olympic distance double and is the first to do so at the Games since Dutchman Jochum Uytdehaage in 2002.

He took a second career break after the 2018 Olympics where he did not medal, served in the army and competed as an ultra runner, and returned two years later.

He won 5,000m and 10,000m world titles in 2021 but also had to swallow the death of his mother last year.

On Friday, he almost appeared to trip on the back straight with five laps to go but was unfazed and reached world record pace in the next lap en route to the gold.

“Technically, I didn’t have my best race but physically, I am in great shape,” van der Poel said.

The 2018 gold medalist Ted-Jan Bloemen had to settle for eighth, more than half a minute back. The 2014 winner and 2018 silver medalist Jorrit Bergsma of the Netherlands missed the podium in fourth.

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