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Sven Kramer takes speed skating gold and Olympic record

Sven Kramer wins 5000m speed skating gold

Flying Dutchman sprints to 5000m gold

Dutch favourite Sven Kramer powered to the 5,000m speed skating crown in an Olympic record time in Vancouver.

The 23-year-old set off on a blistering opening lap and never looked back, clocking six minutes, 14.60 seconds to capture his first Olympic gold.

Korea's Seung-Hoon Lee collected a surprise silver with Russian Ivan Skobrev taking the bronze.

Kramer is targeting a hat-trick of golds at the Canada Games as he goes in the 10,000m and the team pursuit.

The Dutchman has not been beaten over 5,000m since 2007 and was in peerless form at the Richmond Olympic oval.

By the end of the first lap he was already two seconds up on the leading time and went on to clock a series of sub-30 seconds laps as he moved with grace and power across the ice.

But Kramer had to wait for six more competitors to complete their laps before he was certain he had done enough to claim gold.

He sat with his hand over his face as the final two took to the ice before he celebrated by climbing into the crowd to hug his parents and girlfriend, Olympic hockey gold medallist Naomi van As.

"I was dying in the end, so I think it was one of my hardest, and even my best race ever," said Kramer.

And victory ended Kramer's long wait for Winter Olympic gold.

"I was fighting for it for seven years. I knew if I didn't do it now, it would be pretty bad," he added.

"Sven is the man. He's the best in the world," Skobrev said. "I really wanted to beat him but I don't think anybody could have."

"This is a dream, big surprise," added Lee. "I'm very happy."

American defending champion Chad Hedrick finished down the field in 11th place.

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see also
Live - Winter Olympics day two
13 Feb 10 |  Live coverage

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