- Speed Skating
Jorrit Bergsma absence clouds Dutch record
SOCHI, Russia, Feb 22- Having dominated the Olympic speed skating competition with a record medal haul, the Dutch should be heading home with golden cheer. Instead they have a row to resolve.
With four men's medalists vying for three positions in the team pursuit there was always going to be tears, and one unhappy 10,000m champion skater was not willing to be a backup.
The trio beat France and Poland before winning gold on Saturday with victory over South Korea in the final in an Olympic record time.
The gold was one of eight from 12 events for the Dutch at the Adler Arena, a Winter Olympic record which they happily revelled in. However, questions about Bergsma were not well entertained.
"I don't know, man. Who? Jorrit who? Who is that? He was not here, that's all I know," Blokhuijsen, who won silver in the 5000m, told reporters.
"We did it with the three guys who were here and were here for the last two years."
Embedded owg_slideshow: Photos: Dutch win men's team pursuit
Dutch coach Jillert Anema said that Bergsma's decision to depart the squad came before the trio had been picked but hinted the skater knew he wasn't going to be selected and so would miss out on any possible medal.
"As a coach you decide on the line-up and there will always be a few who are not chosen. That's where trouble starts," he said.
"Nobody ever told Jorrit that he could skate but also nobody told him that he couldn't.
"Jorrit said he was done with it. We don't have to make a fuss about it. I don't understand why there is so much talking around it."
Bergsma was not spotted at the Adler Arena on Saturday but his fiance, U.S. skater Heather Richardson, was, as she competed in the women's team pursuit.
She said the decision to leave out Bergsma for the eight lap, 3,200m races was sure to have upset him.
"It's a bit disappointing. Not using him is a strange decision," she told reporters after the Americans finished sixth.
"I think if anyone has a chance to get a medal, then all four should be used and not just three. We haven't talked it but I know he will be disappointed."
Kramer had complained of back trouble after finishing second to Bergsma in the 10,000m, his failure to win the event he was heavy favorite for plainly obvious as the two briefly sat together during the post skate news conference.
Kramer had congratulated Bergsma on his success before leaving sharply after two questions but dismissed suggestion the two had an issue.
"We have nothing against Jorrit. I did not talk to him face to face, but I'm sure he has his reasons," Kramer said.
"He gave up his spot one and a half hours before the race, but we don't know what happened."
Embedded owg_slideshow: Photos: Dutch win women's team pursuit
Best of Sochi