SOCHI, Russia – Dutch speedskater Bob de Jong was absolutely despondent after his 10,000-meter race on Tuesday.
He finished with a time of 13 minutes, 7.19 seconds, a time he was certain would not hold up to get him on the podium in a competitive field.
"It's not a race that is worth all the investments that I made, it's not a race I came to Sochi for," de Jong said shortly after finishing. "To go back home to the Netherlands without a medal is going to hurt."
De Jong's time turned out to be plenty fast enough for him to join countrymen Jorrit Bergsma and Sven Kramer in the fourth Dutch speedskating sweep of the Sochi Games. Bergsma set an Olympic record to win gold, Kramer finished with silver and South Korea's Lee Seung-hoon, who set an Olympic record to win gold in Vancouver, finished in fourth place, more than 4 seconds behind de Jong.
"This was a race to simply forget, I don't expect to win a medal," de Jong lamented. "It wasn't the race I had in mind and I didn't achieve my estimated lap time as I expected."
After the race, it was quite a different story. De Jong pumped his fists and wore a big smile as he stepped to the podium with his mates, then held up four fingers — for the fourth sweep — as he walked off, the smile never leaving his face.
In the story of these Olympics, everything is going the Netherlands' way.
— By Jon Krawczynski — http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu