Gold medallist's explosive 'corruption' claim

4 months ago 145
PR Distribution

Swedish Olympic gold medallist Nils van der Poel has accused the Netherlands speedskating program of "corruption" over a report that its officials tried to influence ice makers to set up conditions that would benefit Dutch athletes.

Van der Poel made his scathing comments during a news conference on Thursday (AEDT) at the Olympic Village, three days after his victory in the 5,000 metres gave Sweden its first speedskating medal since 1988.

"This isn't my idea of fair play," van der Poel said.

LIVE UPDATES: Aussie Brendan Kerry eyes Olympic gold

READ MORE: Audio from Abu Dhabi GP is "really uncomfortable" says Martin Brundle

READ MORE: Police warn NRL about growing criminal 'danger'

Sweden's Nils van der Poel skates during the men's 5000m. (Getty)

"The Olympics is higher, stronger, faster. This is corruption. This is trying to alter the field of play in your favour by using unethical and immoral means."

Van der Poel said he had read an article on a Dutch website that suggested the team is using a scientist to try to make sure the Ice Ribbon oval is set up to its advantage.

While saying he has confidence in Mark Messer, who oversees the ice making, van der Poel said the Dutch program deserves to be punished if the report is true.

"This is the biggest scandal in our sport," he said. "We have doping cases in our sport every now and then. I do not see how this is any less serious."

Dutch technical director Maurits Hendriks reportedly called van der Poel's comments "unworthy of an Olympic champion."

"Measuring the ice temperature has been going on for 20 years," Hendriks said in Dutch media.

"And anyone who comes to the skating rink more often sees that all countries have contact with the ice master."

The Netherlands has won three of the first four events at the Ice Ribbon and claimed a total of six medals — matching the combined total of every other country. The Netherlands also dominated speedskating at the last two Winter Olympics.

Dutchman Patrick Roest and Sweden's Nils van der Poel at the 5,000m track ceremony. (ANP via Getty Images)

"I don't believe that Mark Messer would let himself be duped into doing something with the ice," van der Poel said.

"But knowing that there is [a] guy trying to show him data to get in his head making decisions benefiting the Dutch skaters, that I find very provoking."

Van der Poel stressed that he was not criticising his Dutch rivals. He edged Patrick Roest of the Netherlands for the 5,000m gold medal.

"I have the biggest respect for the Dutch speed skaters." van der Poel said.

"I would not be the person I am today if it wasn't thanks to those guys. They pushed me to push myself."

Van der Poel said he is eager to see what action the International Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union might take.

In the meantime, his attention turns to the 10,000 on Saturday, when van der Poel will be the favourite, but is likely to get another strong challenge from the Dutch.

"This is an abomination," van der Poel said.

"I like it to be fair, to be just. I like it to be about sport and competing. I wish it not to be about affecting judges, affecting administrative personnel.

"When you do things like this, we really must question the authenticity of the results."

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Magic moments in pictures: Every Australian medallist in Winter Olympic history

Read Entire Article