Winter Games Athletes
Favored to repeat as Olympic gold medalist in the 5,000 meters, Kramer leads the strong contingency of Dutch long-track skaters whose seven medals by the men and women at the 2010 Vancouver Games were the most of any country. While Kramer hopes for more success in Sochi, he would settle for less controversy than he experienced in Vancouver. After setting a new Olympic record in the 5,000 with a time of 6 minutes, 14.60 seconds, Kramer smugly refused an on-air request from a television reporter asking his name, country and event. A clip of the interview surfaced and didn't paint Kramer in a positive light. Later in those games, Kramer finished first in the 10,000 meters but was disqualified for failing to change lanes on one lap. The mistake was later blamed on Kramer's coach Gerard Kemkers, who shouted incorrect directions to the skater near the end of the race. Despite those incidents, Kramer remains among the world's top long-distance skaters. He won silver in the 5,000 at the 2006 Games in Turin, and is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist as a member of the Dutch team pursuit squad. The first skater to win four consecutive all-around world championships, Kramer joined fellow Dutchman Rintje Ritsma as the only males to win six European all-around championships. Kramer also finished first in the 5,000 and second in the 10,000 at the 2013 ISU world single distance championships in Sochi. Kramer, who is the son of former Olympic skater Yep Kramer, has decided to withdraw from the 1,500 meters in Sochi to fully concentrate on the 10,000.