Speedskating Champ Chooses Sportsmanship Over Olympic Medal

Feb 18, 2022, 6:50 AM
Kai Verbij - Beijing 2022...
Kai Verbij of Team Netherlands reacts after pulling up during the Men's 1000m on day fourteen of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at National Speed Skating Oval on February 18, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

BEIJING (AP) — Reigning world champion Kai Verbij backed off on the final crossover straight in speedskating’s 1,000 meters, a split-second bit of sportsmanship that cost the Dutch star any chance at a medal.

Verbij knew he didn’t have quite enough speed to get in front of Canada’s Laurent Dubreuil. Rather than a risk a collision, Verbij popped up and slowed so he stayed clear of Dubreuil.

The Canadian zipped away to capture the silver medal.

With his medal chances gone, Verbij coasted around to the finish line.

He wound up more than 3 1/2 seconds behind the best-to-last finisher, Austin Kleba of the United States.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Just a year after Japan’s summer Olympics, the Games are back for a winter show in Beijing, China. The unusually short gap between Games is due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Strict precautions and enforced virus prevention protocol are in place to help keep athletes, coaches and personnel safe. 

Beijing is the capital of China, with a population of more than 20 million people and the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Olympic games. It is one of the largest cities in the world and 15 hours ahead of Mountain Time. There are 13 different venues in and around Beijing that will be used for the Winter Olympics. A total of 109 events will be held in 15 different sports, and there will be a lot of Utah locals competing for medals. Keep up to date with them at our Olympic headquarters.

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Speedskating Champ Chooses Sportsmanship Over Olympic Medal