February 23, 2010
The 23-year-old from the Netherlands was celebrating his second gold medal of the Vancouver Olympics, a win in the 10,000-meter long-track speedskating event. Then his coach told him that he had forgotten to switch lanes at the halfway point of the race.
Disqualified. No medal, no record, just a big "DQ." Ugh.
Kramer was the heavy favorite coming into this year's Olympics, and after his gold-medal performance in the 5,000-meter race, there was no reason to think he wouldn't be doubling up. Of course, no one expected that the world's best long-track speedskater would make such a boneheaded mistake.
Had his time counted, Kramer would have broken the Olympic record in the event by four seconds. He would have been even more adored by the speedskating-crazy Dutch, if that's even imaginable. Instead, South Korea's Lee Seung-hoon takes home a gold, even though he lost the race.
Sometimes you forget to switch lanes. For us, that means we miss our highway exit and end up in some sparsely populated town with nothing but a Casey's convenience store and tackle-box manufacturing plant. For Sven Kramer it means no gold medal and no Olympic record.
But with his 5,000-meter gold, his two medals from Turin, and a lot of women thinking he's the hottest Olympian in Vancouver, he should be okay.