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Canadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen fades to 10th in men's 5,000mCanadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen faded fast in the men's 5,000 metres en route to a 10th-place finish on Sunday at the Beijing Olympics.

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Sweden's Nils van der Poel breaks Olympic record en route to gold medal

Myles Dichter · CBC Sports(Phil Noble/Reuters)

Canadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen faded fast in the men's 5,000 metres en route to a 10th-place finish on Sunday at the Beijing Olympics.

Bloemen, 35, was the reigning silver medallist in the distance and held the world record until December. But he couldn't recapture that magic at the National Speed Skating Oval, also known as the Ice Ribbon, in Beijing.

"I started out really well and I don't know what happened. I am really confused. I don't understand it," Bloemen told CBC Sports' Anastasia Bucsis after the race.

Sweden's Nils van der Poel, the current world-record holder, added an Olympic record to his ledger, winning gold with a time of six minutes 8.84 seconds. The Netherlands' Patrick Roest took silver in 6:09.31 — also an Olympic record for a brief time until it was broken by van der Poel. Norway's Hallgeir Engebraaten earned bronze in 6:09.88.

WATCH | Bloemen 10th in men's 5,000m:

Canadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen finishes 10th in men's 5,000m

13 hours agoDuration 7:55Two-time Olympic medallist Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada placed 10th in the men's speed skating 5,000m final with a time of 6:19.11.7:55

Bloemen, who resides in Calgary, stopped the clock in 6:19.11. Ranked second in long distances in the World Cup standings, he had been expected to contend for the podium.

Instead, like many other skaters on the day, a strategic choice backfired. Skating on the outside track, Bloemen skated his first full lap in 29 seconds flat, before breaking that mark in the next two. But his times ascended in almost every lap from there as the Canadian's medal hopes slowly dwindled.

"I had a few technical cues that I had in my head that I wanted to nail at the beginning of the race. My race plan generally is try to not care in the first half of the race and then care in the second half ... and today I fully executed my race plan," Bloemen said.

WATCH | Bloemen breaks down what went wrong:

Ted-Jan Bloemen: 'I don't know what happened'

12 hours agoDuration 0:58Canada's Ted-Jan Bloemen reflects after his 10th place finish in the men's speed skating 5,000m final.0:58

By contrast, the eventual champion van der Poel grew stronger as the race progressed, only overtaking Roest on the final lap. The Swede broke the 29-second mark on two of his final three turns around the rink.

"I thought, 's--t, I've got to go now.' I was launching for it and it was the Olympic race. That was all I had," van der Poel, 25, said.

Roest, 26, had skated about an hour earlier in the sixth of 10 pairs.Then he nervously watched in the workout room as one pair after another failed to take down his time.

"It's a nice feeling to win silver, but we were so close to the gold medal," he said.

Along with his silver in the 5,000m at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, Bloemen also won gold in the 10,000m. He'll have the opportunity to defend that title when he returns to the ice on Friday at 3 a.m. ET, though van der Poel stands as a strong contender to take the double.

WATCH | Bloemen featured in CBC Sports' 'Returning Champions' series:

Returning Champions: Ted-Jan Bloemen

10 days agoDuration 4:17Canadian speed skater Ted-Jan Bloemen reflects on winning Olympic gold in the 10,000m at PyeongChang, the birth of his daughter and his perspective heading into Beijing 2022.4:17

Bloemen will also skate in the team pursuit in Beijing.

He originally competed for the Netherlands, but in 2014 switched to the Canadian team due to the depth of Dutch skaters. He was able to attain citizenship because his father was born in New Brunswick.

The Canadian speed skating team already has one medal in Beijing after Isabelle Weidemann took silver in the women's 3,000 on Saturday.

The Netherlands' Sven Kramer, who won each of the last three Olympic gold medals in the men's 5,000m, recorded a time of 6:17.04 to place ninth out of the first pairing.

Kramer, 35, plans to retire after the Beijing Games. No matter what, he's already assured of leaving the sport as the most decorated male speed skater in Olympic history, with nine medals over the last four Games.


WATCH | Mark McMorris wants to cement his legacy in Beijing:

My Story: Mark McMorris wants to cement his legacy in Beijing

2 months agoDuration 2:45As one of the legends of the snowboarding world, McMorris heads into his third Olympic Games as one of the oldest competitors in a young man's game. He is one of the most decorated athletes in snowboarding history, including two Olympic medals and 17 X Games medals...but his focus is now on Olympic gold.Bloemen, Weidemann victorious on 1st day of Canadian long track speed skating trials

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