BEIJING (VG) The Swedes are worried about mosquito problems in the ice before their new hero Nils van der Poel (25) will walk 5000 meters to win blue-yellow skating gold for the first time in 34 years.
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– I think that is greatly exaggerated, says Norway’s sports manager for skating, Petter Andersen to VG.
– In connection with the first session (in the morning) – maybe. But when it goes all the time, there is no problem, adds the former national team runner and Olympic participant.
It is Aftonbladet who in connection with an interview with Nils van der Poel claims that mosquitoes create problems for ice cream makers and runners ahead of the men’s opening distance in the Olympics. The 5000-meter starts at 09.30 Norwegian time (16.30 local Beijing time).
World record holder Nils van der Poel is the gold favorite in both the longest distances. However, the Swedish press believes that obstacles may arise in his way in the shortest possible time today.
Mosquitoes that thrive in the brand new and warm (18 degrees in the air) hall, ice (perfect 11 degrees) are reported too soft, loose and infested with tracks and nicks, van der Poel has not been allowed to train due to the Olympics’ usual many restrictions as much as he usually does – and yes, the Swedes fear that he will not repeat Tomas Gustafson’s (62) achievement from the Calgary Olympics in 1988.
Nils van der Poel on the other hand, has a terrible day.
– The ice does not matter to me. If it’s fast, it’s an advantage for me. If it is slow, it is an advantage for me, he says to Aftonbladet.
Petter Andersen points out that the ice was very good during the women’s 3000 meters on Saturday. It showed the times on the lowland line. Irene Schouten won the Olympic record 3.56.93, Norway’s Ragne Wiklund was fifth with 4.01.44.
– It is standard good lowland conditions, he points out.
Norway’s only participant in the 5000 meters, Hallgeir Engebråten (22), in third pair against Sergei Trofimov (Russian Olympic Committee). Nils van der Poel in tenth and final against Belgian Bart Swings.
Petter Andersen believes that Engebråten, who took the bronze medal in the distance in the European Championships a month ago, is in a super mood. His challenge will be to set the starting speed. He has to go cheap enough, and fast enough. If he goes a little too relaxed, he can quickly go too bad.
– I’m excited about Sven Kramer (35) in the first couple. He will give a clue. Either he will go very well, or very badly, says Petter Andersen about the Netherlands’ reigning Olympic champion in the 5000 meters.
The all-time skating king goes to his fifth and final Olympics. This summer, he underwent back surgery.