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Netherlands' Sven Kramer wins record seventh allround speedskating title

03/08/2015 07:12 EDT | Updated 05/08/2015 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - Sven Kramer once again proved he's the best all-around speedskater in the world.

Kramer skated to a time of 12 minutes 56.70 seconds in the 10,000-meter event on Sunday to win the ISU world allround championships at the Olympic Oval.

It was a record seventh men's title for the 28-year-old Dutch skater, who missed last year's allround championships in Heerenveen, Netherlands with a respiratory ailment that eventually required a pair of surgeries.

"It took me like three, four months away from training, so my summer wasn't the best preparing summer for the winter," said Kramer, who won two golds and a silver at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. "Overall, I'm really satisfied with this. Maybe it's kind of history we're making today."

Only Gunda Niemann of Germany has won more world allround titles than Kramer. Niemann won eight women's titles in the 1990s.

On Saturday, Kramer finished 10th in the 500 before winning the 5,000. He then placed third in the 1,500 before beating his nearest competitor in the 10,000 by more than eight seconds to take home the title.

Russia's Dennis Yuskov won the 1,500 on Sunday before falling to fifth in the 10,000 to finish in second ahead of bronze medallist Sverre Lunde Pedersen of Norway.

Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was ranked fourth heading into the final race before finishing eighth in the 10,000 to fall to seventh place overall.

"I like to make this analogy where it's like asking Usain Bolt to run a marathon against some of the best marathoners in the world and expecting him to keep up," said Morrison, who finished the 10K race in a time of 13 minutes 54.90 seconds. "It's not really my distance. It's not what I train for and it is what these guys train for."

Despite not reaching the podium, Morrison enjoyed competing in his home country in front of an appreciative crowd at the Olympic Oval.

"Ultimately I didn't really win anything today," he said. "I didn't make it to the podium today, but I still took a victory lap afterward. I know it was gruelling to watch and it took longer than I wanted it to, but I appreciate them sticking around and cheering me on right to the finish."

In the women's event, Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic won gold after finishing first in the 5,000 in a time of six minutes 51.21 seconds.

"I'm happy because it's nice to be a world champion," said Sablikova, who fell in the 5,000 the last time the world allround championships were held in Calgary in 2011. "Just every step, I was thinking that I can't fall this year."

Defending women's champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands won silver, while Ida Njatun finished first in the 1,500 on Sunday and fourth in the 5,000 to climb into the bronze-medal position.

American skater Heather Richardson finished second in the 1,500 and was ranked first overall heading into Sunday's final race. Skating in her first-ever 5,000, Richardson finished seventh to fall back to fourth overall.

"I guess I just got too excited then hit the wall for sure," said Richardson, who had a fast start in the 5,000 before fading in her final laps around the 400-metre track. "It was a bummer that I'm not third, but fourth, I'll take it."

Ottawa's Ivanie Blondin moved her way up to sixth after placing fifth in the 5,000.

"It's more than what I was expecting for sure," Blondin said. "My goal coming into the weekend was getting into the top eight so that I could skate a good 5K and I did that. I was obviously really tired, but I was pretty confident going into the race and I was able to better my ranking from seventh to sixth so I'm happy about that."

After finishing 10th overall last year in Heerenveen, Regina's Kali Christ set personal bests in all four events over the two-day event to finish eighth overall.

"Actually I've been improving by two spots since I started," said Christ, who finished 12th in Hamar, Norway in 2013. "I'm liking the way this is going."

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