Vancouver failure piles pressure on Sven Kramer

RAF CASERT (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press
Vancouver failure piles pressure on Sven Kramer
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Speedskater Sven Kramer of the Netherlands gestures during a press conference at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Dutch speekskating star Sven Kramer says he is still feeling the pressure of his Olympic blunder four years ago when his coach sent him into the wrong lane on a changeover, costing him a near certain 10,000-meter gold medal.

Kramer opens his campaign for three gold medals when he defends his 5,000 Olympic title Saturday, but the true test will come on Feb. 18, when he lines up again for the 10,000.

Kramer said Wednesday that his mistake in Vancouver has heaped more pressure on him for these Olympics. ''That is a fact. I can try to take it away from me but it is there.''

Kramer, already one of the greatest skaters of all time, is also favored to lead the Netherlands to team pursuit gold.