GANGNEUNG -- Dutch skating star Sven Kramer said Thursday he has a special strategy to take on Korean gold medal favorite Lee Seung-hoon in the upcoming mass start event.
The mass start is a new Olympic sport at the PyeongChang Winter Games. In the event to premier on Saturday, all skaters start on the ice at the same time like in short track speed skating.
Korea's Lee Seung-hoon, who switched to long track speed skating from short track, is the strongest hopeful for gold medal in the new event
"For sure, it's going to be very interesting to skate in Korea," said Kramer, who won his third gold medal in the men's 5,000 meter speed skating. "Seung-hoon Lee is a way good competitor. He is one of the big favorites for the Saturday mass start."
The Saturday competition will be the fourth competition between the Dutch and the Korean skaters at PyeongChang alone. In the 5,000m, Kramer won the title with a new Olympic record and became the first male skater to win a single distance for three Olympics in a row, while Lee finished fifth.
In the 10,000m, however, Lee was fourth and Kramer stood two notches behind.
On Wednesday, Lee steered his teenage teammates to a silver-medal finish in the team pursuit race, while Kramer's Dutch team finished third.
In the upcoming mass start, the very last speed skating event at the PyeongChang Games, Sven wants to tie the head-to-head record with Lee. For Kramer, Saturday's competition will be his first international mass start race.
"He is good in the end. He is good in waiting for the sprint for the last few laps," said Kramer, who lost his 10,000m gold medal to Lee at Vancouver 2010 due to a lane changing mistake.
"We have some strategy. I'm not going to tell you about it now," he said. "But it's clear that they will go for sprint. I will skate with Seung-hoon Lee, and I will go for sprint as well."
Meanwhile, the Dutch skater made an apology for the incident in which he hurt two Korean fans during a late night party on Wednesday.
"I apologized for what happened yesterday. There was no bad intention at all to hurt the girls," he said to the Korean media. "We are really sorry about that. We met the girls, and we're happy that they didn't have big things."(Yonhap)