University student Jonathan Kuck finishes 19th in 5,000 meters at Olympics


United States Jonathan Kuck (3) leads the US Pursuit Team in the men’s team pursuit finals during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, February 27, 2010. The United States finished in second place to win the Silver Medal.

By Daily Illini Staff Report

Update (10:00 p.m.): University student Jonathan Kuck finished 19th overall in the 5,000 meters race with a time of 6 minutes, 31.53 seconds, more than 10 seconds off his time at the Olympic trials.

Sven Kramer of the Netherlands, who Kuck was racing alongside, won gold in 6:10.76, an Olympic record.

University student Jonathan Kuck has an outside shot to medal in his first event at the Sochi (Russia) Olympics this weekend.

The Urbana native long-track speedskater will race in the men’s 5,000 meter race 5:30 a.m. Central time Saturday. His race will be televised live by NBC Sports Network as part of its early morning coverage.

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    Kuck, who is one of three Americans competing in the race, qualified after winning the event by more than six seconds with a time of 6 minutes, 19.75 seconds at U.S. Olympic Trials in late December.

    However, he placed 12th in 5,000 meters at last year’s World Single Distance Speed Skating Championships, which also took place Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi.

    Sven Kramer of the Netherlands, who will be racing in the event, holds the world and Olympic records with times of 6:03.32 (2007) and 6:14.60 (2010), respectively.

    The 23-year-old Kuck is competing in his second Olympic Games after winning silver in the team pursuit in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2010.

    Following the 5,000 meters, Kuck will race in the 1,500 meters (Feb. 15) and will likely compete in the team pursuit (Feb. 20 and 21), though the team has yet to be announced.

    He was a favorite to compete in the 10,000 meters, but 17-year-old teammate Emery Lehman edged Kuck out by a skates length — .07 seconds — after coming back over the final three laps to secure U.S.’ lone spot in the event at the Winter Olympics.

    Kuck is an engineering physics major, with a computer science minor, at the University.