For three minutes on Tuesday, Dutch speed skater Thomas Krol thought he had won a gold medal.
The 29-year-old skated a 1:43.55 time in the men’s 1500m to set the Olympic record, besting American Derek Parra’s 20-year-old mark.
Krol raced in the 10th of 15 pairings to step up to the line. His Dutch teammate, 2018 Winter Olympic gold medalist Kjeld Nuis, was next.
“I thought f—, this is going to hurt,” Nuis said. “He really pushed himself. It was his best race of the season.
“And of course, mine too.”
Nuis fell behind Krol’s pace through the first 700m of the race, but he soared to the finish to set the Olympic record at 1:43.21.
His final lap was 28.44 seconds, 0.42 faster than Krol’s.
“I really hoped my time would have been enough, and for a few minutes I thought it would be,”Krol said. “Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I am still happy with the silver. I finish today with my head held high.
“It has been a fantastic race and the best man won today. Even though I’ve been defeated today, I am still a world champion and an Olympic silver medalist.”
Nuis also bested Krol at the Dutch Olympic Trials and 2021 European Championships in the men’s 1000 by 0.51 seconds combined.
Krol is the second speed skater to set an Olympic record and miss out on a gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Krol has the 1000m race left to compete for gold, and Tuesday’s defeat still provides a boost of confidence.
“I skated the best race when it mattered most,” Krol said. “This is a pretty good start. Today’s race and my speed gives me a lot of confidence for the 1000m.”
Krol is performing in his first career Winter Olympics.
He was left off the team in 2018 and has put together a dominant stretch in the 1000m and 1500m since then.
The Dutch skater is the 2019-20 World Cup champion and 2020-21 runner-up in the men’s 1000m.
Nuis won the 1000m gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but he did not qualify for 2022. With the title up for grabs, Krol is one of the prime contenders.
“My dream is to be an Olympic champion and I will do everything I can to achieve that in the 1000m,” Krol said.
The men’s 1000m event will take place on Feb. 18.
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