American wins shocking silver medal in speed skating when a crash left just 2 skaters standing on the final lap

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
  • American John-Henry Kreuger pulled a big upset, winning silver, just behind Canadian Samuel Girard in the 1,000-meter event in speed skating.
  • Kreuger was in a good position, but got some help when a crash took out the favourites with just one lap to go.
  • Krueger seemed as shocked as anybody when he realised the silver medal was his.

In speed skating, sometimes it pays off to just be one of the last skaters standing … literally.

American John-Henry Kreuger surprised a lot of people – himself included – when he won silver in speed skating after three of the other four finalists crashed with just one lap to go during the 1,000-meter event.

Kreuger was actually in a good position with two laps to go, sitting just behind the leader, Canadian Samuel Girard. But when Liu Shaolin Sandor of Hungary tried to move up on the penultimate lap, he took out himself and both of the Korean skaters, the favourites heading into the final.

NBC sports

That left just Krueger and Girard as the only skaters upright with one lap to go.

NBC Sports

During the first turn on the final lap, Krueger looked back and could see that the three skaters behind him had all been taken out.

At this point, Krueger appeared to take his foot of the gas pedal a touch. He might not have caught Girard anyway, but it appeared as if Krueger was just content with not messing up the final half-lap and the guaranteed silver medal.

NBC Sports

As Krueger crossed the finish line, he looked over at the official results and held up his hands, seemingly in disbelief.

He joined Apolo Ohno as the only the second American man to ever medal in the 1000m.

Winter OlympicsDean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

He then leaped the wall and into his coach’s arms.

NBC Sports

Here is video of the final laps.

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