For the Dutch, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver started with a very important race: the men's 5000 metres speed skating. The whole country (and the rest of the speed skating world) expected Dutch favourite Sven Kramer [nl] to win the gold, but the question was: would Kramer be able to deal with this immense pressure?
Dutch celebrities and fellow (Olympic) speed skaters tweeted before, during and after the race.
Dutch speed skater Erben Wennemars, Sven's friend and team mate, was confident in the afternoon:
Vandaag wordt het GOUD!!
Today we're going to win the GOLD!!
And he assured everyone that Sven was ready:
met sven ontbeten. hij is er helemaal klaar voor.
just had breakfast with sven. he's all ready for it.
Even American speed skater Shani Davis, Kramer's opponent in this race, found time to tweet:
Just finished pre-race warmup. I feel really good…crowd is totally energized…this is going to be some FUN (even if Sven kicks my butt).
Dutch actor Antonie Kamerling shared his excitement about the race, keeping people updated. Before the race, he tweeted:
wat een druk voor Kramer. favoriet en als 1e rijden van de favorieten. word toch een beetje zenuwachtig. gelukkig vallen bijna nooit bij 5 k
the pressure on Kramer is enormous. he's the favourite and the first to race of all the favourites. I'm getting a bit nervous now. fortunately, nobody hardly ever falls during the 5k
He wondered what was going through Sven's head:
kon je nu maar in de hoofden kijken van Kramer, Fabris en de Jong. over een paar jaar kan dat gewoon
I wish you could see into the heads of Kramer, Fabris and De Jong. in another few years that will certainly be possible
After Sven's race he wrote:
djeezus wat spannend…. hij ging echt wel kapot leek het.
Jezus, that was exciting…. looks like he really gave everything.
Then the waiting started. First, Korean speed skater Lee was racing Dutch skater De Jong:
shit dacht nog heel even dat die Koreaan eroverheen sprintte. eikel. dat kunnen we niet hebben
shit, for a moment there I thought this Korean was going to beat him. idiot. we can't have that
Would Italian Fabris be able to beat his time:
shit ik word gek, die Fabris zal toch niet…????
shit I'm going mad, this Fabris is not going to…????
And then finally, the relief:
ja hoor het is gelukt!!!!!!!!!
yes he did it!!!!!!!!!
Dutch actress Halina Reijn had to perform in a play during the evening and logged on afterwards, trying to find out what had happened:
Wie heeft er gewonnen met schaatsen?
Who won in speed skating?
And quickly switched on the TV when she realised the race wasn't finished yet:
Ok sorry voor mijn domme vraag…zit voor de tv nu! Sven…
Ok sorry about my stupid question…am watching TV now! Sven…
Dutch sports journalist Wilfried de Jong [nl] had just arrived at the airport in New York and had to resort to the internet:
hier in aankomsthal luisteren naar radio 1. Nederlanders met oren bij mijn laptop.
here in arrivals hall, listening to radio 1. Other Dutch people are eagerly listening to my laptop.
When Sven Kramer finally did win the gold, there was lots of praise. Erben Wennemars wrote:
ben intens blij voor Sven Kramer… gefeliciteerd!
am over the moon for Sven Kramer… congratulations!
His opponent, Shani Davis, wrote:
I'm really happy for Sven. That crowd, it's still going thru me…very exciting feeling. Time to switch gears, get ready for the sprint.
American speed skater Chad Hedrick, who unsuccesfully tried to defend his Olympic title on the 5k in the last race, wrote:
Congrats to Sven today- great race! You are very deserving!
Dutch speed skater and team mate Mark Tuitert [nl], who will be participating in the men's 1000 and 1500 metres, wrote:
Repect voor Sven, hij flikt het en dat is absoluut niet altijd vanzelfsprekend!
Respect for Sven, he did it and that is something you absolutely cannot take for granted!
Team mate Ronald Mulder [nl], who will be participating in the men's 500 metres, wrote:
Supermooie 5km gezien! Sven met 16miljoen NL'ers op zijn rug de dikverdiende gouden plak! Respect
Watched a super great 5k! Sven won his well-earned gold medal with 16 million Dutch people on his back! Respect
Team mate Annette Gerritsen [nl], who will be participating in the ladies’ 500, 1000 and 1500 metres, wrote:
Wat een prachtige 1e dag. Wat onzettend knap van Sven.
What a beautiful first day. An incredible achievement by Sven.
Dutch coach Ingrid Paul [nl], currently coaching the Canadian speed skating team, stressed how incredible Sven's performance was:
Ik zei net verdiende winnaar,maar dit is meer dan verdiend,de superfavoriet en super hard geknokt en gereden,niets laten liggen! Super Sven!
I just said he deserved to win, but this is more than deserved, the super favourite and he put up a super fight and a super race, he gave it his all! Super Sven!
Norwegian speed skater Øystein Grødum had even learned Dutch to congratulate Sven and expressed his disappointment over fellow countryman Håvard Bøkko's fourth place:
felicitaties SVEN…. GOUD.. sorry with 4th for @havardbokko
congratulations SVEN…. GOLD.. sorry with 4th for @havardbokko
Sven Kramer himself hasn't been spotted on Twitter yet. He'd better concentrate on speed skating, since he has a few more medal chances.
Picture and thumbnail taken from Sven Kramer's website