Dutch skaters fail to win the gold medal in the team pursuit during the Beijing Olympic Games. The ladies of the chase, led by Jan Koopmans of Barlow, were a disappointment.
Women had to settle for bronze, and men lost medals for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games.
Because of the difficult times in the quarter-finals, the two Dutch teams have already met strong opponents in the semi-finals. Where the fastest times in the quarter-finals were the next, in the semi-finals it was all about winning the head-to-head duels. The Dutch women, with Olympic champions Irene Faust and Irene Scotten and bronze medalist Antoinette de Jong at the start, met Canada in the semi-finals.
The National Coopmans coach decided not to change his starting position and game plan against the Canadian Women. Orange opened faster and led over a second after a round. After that, the Netherlands ceded too much each round, leading to a shortfall in progress. In the end, the orange lost the semi-final by 0.98 seconds.
And in the bronze-medal battle, the Netherlands met the Russian Olympic Committee, which Japan eliminated in the semi-finals by a wide margin. The Coopmans decided to make a switch in his team. Marijke Groeneaud replaced Antoinette de Jong in the starting grid. Once again, the orange woman started faster, as the Russians slowly left. As a result, the difference quickly rose to more than three seconds, and it soon became clear that the Netherlands would win the bronze. In the end, the difference was 1.8 seconds and Koopmans’ team took the bronze. For Erin West, this was her thirteenth Olympic medal.
The gold in the women’s hunt went to Canada. The outgoing champion Japan led the entire race, but a Japanese crash into the final corner.
With their fourth time in the quarter-finals, the chasing men beat the fastest country in the semi-finals: Norway, the 2018 Olympic champions. Like the women, the men also opened quickly in the semi-finals. But the men’s team, made up of Marcel Busker, Sven Kramer and Patrick Rost, couldn’t maintain that pace either. Orange conceded 1.34 seconds at the end, and thus was also sentenced to the Bronze Final.
United States of America
The Dutch men did not change their lineup after the semi-finals and faced the United States in the bronze medal battle. After a thrilling fight, they were eliminated by the Russian Olympic Committee in the semi-finals, but set a fast time. In the Battle of Bronze, Orange did not participate for a moment. The American skaters were faster on each lap and finished by about three seconds.
The gold in men went back to Norway. Obviously, they were faster than the Russians in the final.
Koopmans’ mission in the Olympics is not over yet. Coming on Saturday, it will be the mass start on the men’s and women’s program. Coopmans is also ultimately responsible for this part.
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