(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
This weekend Sven Kramer of the Netherlands became only the third skater to ever win five allround speedskating titles at the 2012 ISU World Allround Speedskating Championships. Ireen Wüst, also of the Netherlands, won her third world allround title.
There must have been some serious singing and wooden-shoe-stomping in Holland this weekend, because the Dutch swept the podium in the men’s allround. Kramer, at just 25, won his fifth allround world title in six years with a combined samalog of 149.327. Jan Blokhuijsen was 2nd, just .29 points behind Kramer at 149.614 points; while the man with the hardest name on earth to spell, Koen Verweij took third with a score of 150.085.
Despite the fact that it was a narrow victory, with this win Kramer has established himself as one of the greatest allround speedskaters of all time. Only two other skaters in history, Oscar Mathisen (NOR) and Clas Thunberg (FIN) have equaled the five-peat-feat, and Thunberg won his last world title in 1931. Blokhuijsen didn’t let Kramer have the title easily, however. The two were essentially tied going into the final race, the 10k, which Kramer won in a time of 13:08.76, while Blokhuijsen finished second in the event in a time of 13:12.31
2010′s world allround surprise silver medalist, the US’s Jonathan Kuck, finished the weekend in 6th place. Josh Wood and Patrick Meek finished in 18th and 22nd, respectively.
The Netherland’s Ireen Wüst showed that to win the allround title you have to be consistent. Wüst didn’t win an individual event all weekend, but she was never worse than 3rd place – and that only happened in the 500m. The Olympic gold medalist had to fight off strong attacks in the shorter races from Canada’s Christine Nesbitt and the grinding pace in the long races set by Czech superstar Martina Sáblíková. But Wüst proved that she truly is the best allround skater and by the end of the four races she had a sizable .8 samalog point lead over Sáblíková, who finished 2nd. Nesbitt rounded out the top three.
The battle for second was actually pretty epic. There really couldn’t be two more different skaters than Nesbitt and Sáblíková – Nesbit won both shorter distances, the 500m and the 1500m; while Sáblíková won both longer races. Going into the final distance, the 5k, Nesbit had a 14.5 second advantage over the distance phenom, but even that large lead proved too little. On her way to winning the 5k race in a time of 6:58.74, Sáblíková also bested the Canadian by nearly 20 seconds moving her into the silver medal position.
American Jilleanne Rookard finished the weekend in 11th place; teammate Maria Lamb finished in 24th.