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Bergsma boycotts Dutch pursuit team in final

Published: Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 9:07 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Speedskaters from the Netherlands, front to back, Sven Kramer, Koen Verweij, and Jan Blokhuijsen compete in the men's speedskating team pursuit semifinal race at the Adler Arena Skating Center at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Olympic champion Jorrit Bergsma is boycotting the Dutch pursuit team for Saturday's final because he has been used only as a substitute in the heats and feels excluded.

Bergsma, who won the 10,000-meter title earlier this week, told the NOS television network that he was counted on "only in emergencies" while 5,000 champion Sven Kramer and Olympic medalists Koen Verweij and Jan Blokhuijsen combined as a team to beat France and Poland to reach Saturday's final. Each time, they won by overwhelming margins.

Bergsma's action should be of little consequence unless one of the three starters gets injured before the evening final.

It is the first controversy to hit a team that has already won 21 of 30 speedskating medals at Sochi.

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