Sven Kramer wins record 9th European all-around title
Sven Kramer won a record ninth European all-around title, winning the 10,000 meters to complete yet another dominating performance for the Dutchman.
Kramer boosted his reputation as the greatest all-around skater at his Thialf home skating rink in Heerenveen, the Netherlands, easily holding off fellow Dutchman Jan Blokhuijsen and Bart Swings of Belgium in the four-race event.
During the final session of the three-day championships dominated by local skaters, Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic won the women’s sprint title, holding off Dutchwoman Jorien ter Mors and Olga Fatkoelina of Russia.
On Saturday, Ireen Wust won her fifth European all-around title in dominating style and Kai Verbij took the men’s sprint gold on a near perfect weekend for Dutch skating, ahead of next year’s Olympics in Pyongchang, South Korea.
The Olympics consist of individual race events but the Dutch domination in the all-around races illustrated that the Netherlands could well be the overwhelming team again.
When the horsedrawn ice sleds took the champions around Thialf, three of four champions were clad in Dutch trademark orange.
Kramer was already leading the men’s event coming into the final two races on Sunday and, with a strong 1,500, the outcome was a foregone conclusion before he set off and won the 10,000.
”It is the ninth title but skating at home is the best,” Kramer said. ”It was great.”
Blokhuijsen was lucky to be awarded silver after it became clear he should have been disqualified for a false start for putting his skate on the starting line and not behind it.
”It cannot happen, I was lucky,” he said.
The world all-around championships are set for Hamar, Norway in March – Kramer already has eight titles and Wust five.