Speed skating preview: Men’s team pursuit


How to watch

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 6:22 a.m. ET


What to watch for

New Zealand: The men’s team pursuit could provide a breakthrough for New Zealand, a country that has won only one medal at the Olympic Winter Games (silver in alpine skiing in 1992). The group is led by Peter Michael, who became the first speed skater from New Zealand to win a World Cup event in 2016, and several months later, the first from his country to win a medal at the world championships. In PyeongChang, Michael finished in fourth in the 5000m, barely missing out on the podium. New Zealand won silver last season at the world championships and finished on the podium twice in the first four World Cup races this season. 

“Yeah there’s a lot of pressure on us from the whole country but, you know, we’ve put years and years of work into us. We have our own expectations as well, but I think we’re pretty fortunate to go through to the next round and we look forward to the challenge,” Kay Rayvon said to the media.

South Korea: The South Korean squad boasts a mixture of expereince and youth. Three-time Olympic medalist Lee-Seung Hoon led teeenagers Chung Jae-Won and Kim Min-Seok to the fastest time in the quarterfinals. 

Netherlands: The Dutch finally captured Olympic gold in this event in Sochi after two disappointing finishes in 2006 and 2010. In Pyeongchang, they have a good chance to do so again, armed with an arsenal of talented skaters that includes eight-time Olympic medalist Sven Kramer and two-time Olympic medalist Koen Verweij, who were both part of the Sochi team pursuit four years ago. Kramer helped the team to gold at Worlds last season. In the quarterfinal, Verweij was struggling through the final laps, which may lead the Dutch to bring 22-year old Patrick Roest into the mix. 

“We are pretty confident, especially with the first six laps,” Sven Kramer said after the quarterfinal. “We were getting a bit in trouble in the last two laps. But I think we really stick together and we managed to get in the final (second fastest), and that was the most important thing today.”

Norway: Norway should have a strong team as well: the 2017 world bronze medalists won two World Cup medals earlier this season. Among its top skaters is PyeongChang 5000m bronze medalist, Sverre Lunde Pedersen, who helped the team to back-to-back medals at the World Single Distance Championships in the last two seasons (bronze in 2017, silver in 2016).

2014 Sochi Medalists

Gold: Netherlands

Jan Blokhuijsen

Sven Kramer

Koen Verweij

Silver: South Korea 

Joo Hyong-Jun

Kim Cheol-Min

Lee Seung-Hoon

Bronze: Poland 

Zbigniew Brodka

Konrad Niedzwiedzki

Jan Szymanski

2017 World Championships medalists

Gold: Netherlands

Sven Kramer

Jan Blokhuijsen

Douwe de Vries

Patrick Roest

Silver: New Zealand

Peter Michael

Reyon Kay

Shane Dobbin

Bronze: Norway

Havard Lorentzen

Sindre Henriksen

Simen Spieler Nilsen

Sverre Lunde Pedersen

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