Sweden's Nils van der Poel wins gold, sets Olympic record in men's 5000m

Speed skater Nils van der Poel - Credit: (Getty Images)

Speed skater Nils van der Poel – Credit: (Getty Images)

Patrick Roest of the Netherlands set an Olympic record in the fifth pairing of the men’s 5000m speed skating event on Sunday. 

His reign did not last, though, as Sweden’s Nils van der Poel surpassed Roest in the final pairing of the event to win his first gold medal. 

Roest finished in second place with a 6:09.31 time while van der Poel hit 6:08.84. 

Norway’s Hallgeir Engebraaten won the bronze medal with a time of 6:09.88.

Van der Poel is the first Swedish athlete to win the men’s 5000m Olympic gold since Tomas Gustafson in 1988. 

He was trailing Roest’s pace for the entire race until the last lap. 

The 25-year-old Swedish skater finished 14th in the same contest at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Van der Poel then spent a year serving in the Swedish army, returning to the sport in 2020. He set the world record last December. 

Final run for a legend

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands entered the 2022 Winter Olympics as the three-time defending gold medalist in the 5000m. He admitted last week that defending his title was going to be difficult. He is 35 years old and had back surgery in May.

Kramer finished in ninth place with a 6:17.04 time, well off his Olympic record-setting 6:09.76 time in 2018.

The Dutch skater is competing in his final Olympics. Kramer is the all-time leader in men’s speed skating Olympic medals with nine, and he will have opportunities to win more in the team pursuit and mass start competitions. 

U.S. finishers

Emery Lehman and Ethan Cepuran represented the United States in the 5000m. Lehman, 25, finished in 16th place with a time of 6:21.80. Cepuran, 21, placed 17th at 6:25.97.

No American has won a medal at this distance since Chad Hedrick took the gold in 2006. 

Cepuran, Lehman, Joey Mantia and Casey Dawson, who missed the 5000m after testing positive for COVID-19, will be contenders in the team pursuit event after setting a world record in December. 

Looking ahead

The next speed skating event is the women’s 1500m. Brittany Bowe will skate for the United States in pursuit of her first individual Olympic medal.

Coverage begins at 3:30 a.m. ET on Monday. Visit NBCOlympics.com for the full speed skating schedule and to see the final results from the men’s 5000m. 

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