Norwegian speed skater Håvard Bøkko put on an impressive performance at the World Championships in Hamar over the weekend, ending in second place overall with the silver medal just behind the favoured Sven Kramer of the Netherlands.
Bøkko, age 26, had admitted to some nerves late last week but was able already on Saturday to say that he couldn’t remember being so close to beating Kramer as he was over the weekend, in the 5,000-meter event, then the 1,500- and 10,000-meter on Sunday.
Bøkko’s goal was to be in the lead heading into the tough 10,000-meter race on Sunday. Both he and Sverre Lunde Pedersen were second and third respectively overall. Bøkko beat Kramer in the 1,500-meter on Sunday, but the championships ended with Kramer on top, Bøkko holding silver and Bart Swings of Belgium with bronze. Pedersen was fourth overall.
While Norway’s biathlon stars were piling up medals at their world championships, skating officials were pleased with Norway’s speed skating performance on home turf. In addition to the men, Ida Njåtun delivered some strong performances for the women’s team, ending in fifth place overall after Ireen Wust and Diane Valkenburg of the Netherlands took gold and silver and Jekaterina Sjikova of Russia took bronze.
Bøkko collapsed on the infield after the 10,000-meter Sunday afternoon. “I was finished, dizzy and not clear,” he told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “It was more painful than it’s possible to understand.” He finished third, but his performances earlier in the championships left him in second place overall.