Ted-Jan Bloemen won Canada's first Olympic gold medal in the men's 10,000 metres in long-track speedskating Thursday.
The 31-year-old, who moved from the Netherlands to Calgary four years ago to compete for Canada, won in Olympic-record time of twelve minutes, 39.11 seconds.
"I had a dream," Bloemen said. "And I always felt from deep inside that I was able to do something special on the ice, but I was never able to show it. I had to find a different way to do it because I found I hit a wall in my career.
"I found that different way and got way more than I ever would have hoped."
Dutchman Jorrit Bergsma, the 2014 victor in the 10k, was second and briefly held the Olympic record with a time of 12:41.98 until Bloemen erased it in the next pairing.
Italy's Nicola Tumolero took the bronze.
Toronto's Jordan Belchos finished fifth with a career-best time of 12:59.51.
The only Canadian to win a medal in the 10k before Thursday was a bronze by Frank Stack in 1932.
Bloemen claimed his second medal of the games after taking silver behind Dutch star Sven Kramer in the 5,000 metres Tuesday.
Kramer skated in the final 10k pairing, but the reigning world champion in the distance didn't challenge Bloemen and placed sixth.
As Kramer faded in his last laps, Bloemen sat on the warmup track padding and cried before hugging his coach Bart Schouten.
"It's really hard to put that moment into words," Bloemen said. "It's more feelings and emotion that run through your body and your mind at that point.
"Imagine that feeling. It's really, really, incredible. It's just a really slow realization that you're becoming Olympic champion."
Bloemen expressed disappointment at not having more in the tank after the 5k, when he beat Norway's Sverre Lunde Pederson by a mere blade tip in their pairing for second place.
But Bloemen was powerful Thursday, taking the lead 2,500 metres into the race and holding his pace.
Bloemen flung his arms in the air with joy after crossing the line, knowing he'd put down a time that would be tough for Kramer to beat.
The Canadian knocked almost five seconds off Kramer's 10k world record at a World Cup Nov. 21, 2015, when he put down a time of 12 minutes 36.30 seconds on the notoriously fast ice in Salt Lake City.
Bloemen's father Gerhard-Jan was born in Bathurst, N.B., and lived in Canada for seven years before his family returned to the Netherlands.
Since arriving in Calgary in the spring of 2014, Bloemen has obtained his Canadian citizenship and married his Dutch wife Marlinde in a ceremony in Calgary.
Belchos and Bloemen will race the men's team pursuit Feb. 21.
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