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Timmer Overcomes Tearful DQ to Capture Gold
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Dutch speed skater Marianne Timmer turned tears of frustration into golden vindication, winning the Olympic women's 1,000m gold medal on Sunday after a 500m disqualification five days earlier.

Turning anger and disappointment into gold, the 31-year-old Dutch star took her first Olympic medal since capturing the 1998 gold at 1,000m and 1,500m, winning in 1 minute, 16.05 seconds to edge Canada's Cindy Klassen by .04 of a second.

"It was really incredible," Timmer said. "It's like being in a movie. Imagine, eight years after my first Olympic medal and I did it again. I can hardly believe it."

Timmer departed the ice in tears last Tuesday after becoming the first victim of a controversial new false start rule.

"After the 500 I had a bad feeling about the whole Olympics," Timmer said. "Today everything was OK. I had the right feeling. I still can't believe it. It's wonderful."

Timmer was cheered for 2 1/2 laps around the 400m Lingotto Oval by thousands of Dutch supporters, but when she set the time to beat there were still 14 skaters with a chance to knock her from the top.

But Timmer was still in the lead when her friend, Germany's Anni Friesinger, took the ice in the final pairing.

"I thought when I saw Anni, that was the golden race. But it wasn't," said Timmer. "My third gold medal. It's really special. How did I do it? I don't know. It's crazy."

World Cup leader Friesinger, 29, made it close with a furious final lap, but settled for bronze just .06 behind Timmer.

"Marianne was angry after the 500 so I think she deserved to win," said Friesinger. "She was very disappointed about the 500m. I knew she had so much motivation, she was going to win a medal today. Which one, I didn't know.

"I told her this is the best thing you could do for your 500."

Timmer was the first victim of a new rule imposing any false start upon both skaters in a heat. When her Korean rival false started, both were on the brink of 500m banishment. When Timmer moved her right arm after taking her mark, she was disqualified.

The incident sent livid Dutch coaches complaining the starters were holding skaters in their blocks too long. US and Canadian skaters agreed.

"I have a vengeful feeling after my disqualification," Timmer said. "I'm still angry so be careful.

"You are here training for a week and finally the event is here. All your adrenaline is at the start. Then you can pack up your bag and go home when you still have that adrenaline.

"It gives extra motivation. I was really ready to race the 500, too."

Klassen, the reigning world champion at 1,500m and 3,000m, became the first Canadian woman to win three medals in a single Winter Olympics. She took silver in team pursuit and bronze at 3,000m and was happy for Timmer after the race.

"I felt really bad for her after the 500. You never want to see that happen with any skater," Klassen said. "She's a great athlete. It's really special for her to win this gold medal."

Timmer finished fourth in the 1,000m at Salt Lake City.

"That's the worst place you can be," Timmer said. "Better to be sixth I think."

Dutch Olympic 3,000m champion Ireen Wust, 19, settled for fourth in the 1,000m in 1:16.39 with Canada's Kristina Groves, fifth.

Dutch reigning world champion Barbara de Loor was sixth in 1:16.73 and world sprint champion Svetlana Zhurova, who won the 500m gold on Tuesday, was seventh in 1:17.13.

(China Daily February 21, 2006)

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