De Jong outskates Hedrick in 10,000, Dankers 9th

American speed skater Chad Hedrick hoped to match Eric Heiden's five gold-medal performance, but didn't come close as he lost the men's 10,000 metres to Bob de Jong of the Netherlands at the Torino Olympic Winter Games.

Canadian champion Arne Dankers of Calgary placed ninth overall (13:23.55).

De Jong, the reigning world champion, set the winning time in the fourth of eight pairings, clocking 13 minutes, 1.57 seconds amid chants of "Holland, Holland" at Turin's Oval Lingotto.

De Jong not only skated a personal best but erased the indignity of finishing next to last at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, in a race he was favoured to win.

"I have been good and fit all year, but every time (I skated) it didn't quite work out for me," De Jong said. "Today it did."

"There was pressure on him because everybody said he could not skate when it matters," noted Dutch coach Ingrid Paul.

Norway's Oystein Grodum finished 12 seconds behind de Jong yet retained the silver-medal position until bumped off the podium by Hedrick and Dutch skater Carl Verheijen in the final pairing.

Hedrick began to falter halfway through the strenuous 25-lap marathon and finished in 13:05.40, well behind de Jong but three seconds faster than Verheijen.

Asked how he overcame the pain, Hedrick said: "My heart is bigger than anybody else out there. If another skater had felt like I did today, he wouldn't have been on the podium."

"Only one guy really had heart today," Verheijen countered. "That was Bob."

Hedrick, who set the world record of 12:55.11 last Dec. 31, arrived in Turin vowing to equal Heiden's five gold medals at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics. He won one.

"I'm very happy with my accomplishments," Hedrick said. "At the same time, I feel like I left a lot of medals out there."

Hedrick wound up winning one gold, one silver and one bronze.



Source: CBC.CA