Dutch speed skating champion Sven Kramer has pulled out of Saturday's 1,500-meter event, a distance that could have seen the athlete win yet another Olympic medal.
"A very tough decision, but I have decided not to skate the 1,500-meter race. This to stay focused on my 10,000 meters and the Team Pursuit event," Kramer said on his Twitter account on Wednesday.
Kramer successfully defended his Olympic title on Saturday when he won gold in the men's 5,000-meters. Fellow countrymen Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma joined Kramer on the Olympic podium, coming in second and third place, respectively.
Blokhuijsen will now replace Kramer in Saturday's race.
Kramer had earlier hinted that he would drop the 1,500-meter race in favor of the 10,000-meter event. A victory in the longer race would redeem Kramer of a mistake that saw the skater stripped of his Olympic title for an incorrect lane change during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.
"The 10,000-meter race is the most important to me. I skate to win. I don't know whether a silver or bronze medal would be worth it, so close to the 10,000-meter [race]. Many people will say I'm crazy, so be it," Kramer said, Dutch news agency NOS reported.
The Dutch currently top the speed skating medal table, following clean sweeps in both the men's 5,000-meter and the 500-meter events.