New Zealand speed skaters Peter Michael, Reyon Kay and Shane Dobbin have finished fourth in the Team Pursuit at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The Kiwis faced top qualifiers Republic of Korea in a nail-biting semi-final race and held the lead for almost the entire race. Going all in for race one was a well-planned tactic as Shane Dobbin explains:
"We decided early on that we were going to fight and we were going to do everything we could to get to that gold medal round.”
“ A lot of people expected us to kind of throw it and wait for the bronze medal round but it’s just not in us."
It was a tight race right to the last lap when the Kiwis dropped off the pace and finished 0.71s behind.
From there it was a race against The Netherlands for the bronze medal while Norway challenged Republic of Korea for the gold. The Kiwis never really found the speed they needed to be in contention for the podium and finished five seconds behind The Netherlands.
“We did expend a lot of energy in the semi-finals but the Dutch ran a faster semi-final than us anyway,” said Shane. “As it turned out the results were more or less as they should have been. The strongest team won.”
Although “physically and emotionally” drained by the end of the night’s racing, the team agreed that their early decision to go for gold was the right one.
‘We did come here to win so we gave it everything in the semi-final,” said Peter Michael. “It was definitely a good close hit out. I think we took a lot of people by surprise with that one.
“It’s just unfortunate that we might have burned a little too much energy but we’re not going to start a race planning to get third. We’re not about that. It’s easy to look back and say maybe this, maybe that but we came for the win and we can feel really proud having left everything out there tonight.”
Reyon Kay and Peter Michael will now begin final preparations for their last event of the PyeongChang Games, the Mass Start, which is scheduled for Saturday 24 February.
PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games Shane Dobbin