A couple of years ago, at the Winter Olympics in Sotji 2014, he took his fourth Olympic medal: a bronze in the 10,000 m. That made him the oldest skating medalist in 86 years – or in modern times, if you prefer. He’s visiting Luleå just for pleasure, but I can’t help talking to him about his successful career now that I get a chance. Especially as it’s an Olympic career spanning over 16 years and five Olympic performances.
That made him the oldest skating medalist in 86 years – or in modern times, if you prefer.
At the Olympic Games in Nagano 1998 Bob took the silver in the 10,000 metres and four years later at the Olympics in Salt Lake City he was favourite to win the Olympic gold. But he failed, completely. He ended up in 15th place in the 10,000 m and 32nd place in the 5,000 m. He went home and suffered. He had no idea what had just happened, just that he’d been putting too much pressure on himself. He had nothing to blame.
The week before he’d set the world record in 3,000 m. He was in excellent shape. But after his failure he kept going and four years later at the Turin Olympics he beat the hell out of all the favourites even if they matched his previous times. Then he won the Olympic bronze in two successive Olympic Games. First four years to set the record straight, but then? Well, just because it was fun! You might want to bear that in mind. The opportunities you get to succeed aren’t always four years apart. You might just get a chance tomorrow.