Winter Olympics: New Zealand speed skaters withdraw from individuals to focus on team pursuit medal

The New Zealand speed skating team is doing everything it can to try and claim an elusive medal at the Winter Olympics.

Speed skaters Shane Dobbin and Peter Michael have been withdrawn from the 10,000 metres event in PyeongChang in a bid to have them as fresh as possible for the team pursuit, which is perceived as their best shot at a podium finish.

Coach Kalon Dobbin, brother of Shane, believes the additional rest could potentially make all the difference.

"It's only two days before the team pursuit, it's going to come down to fractions of a second to make that final for the medal rounds," Dobbin told Newshub.

"I think that's one thing that's going to be a huge advantage for us.

"We can really focus on the team pursuit where a lot of these other teams still have individual races beforehand to worry about."

Michael followed his fourth place in the 5000m by finishing 14th in the 1500m briefly in bronze medal position in the two-man race of 18 overnight (NZT).

Dobbin's well aware of what it will take to overcome the heavily-favoured Dutch and the hometown hero Koreans.

"It's going to come down to who actually lays it down on the day and who can skate together the best as a team. It's the whole three having to work in unison to get the best time.

"We're definitely in much better form than the world cups and that's the way that we planned it, but I'm really happy with the way the guys are skating."

The team have been hitting personal bests in training, and their coach has complete faith in the passion and energy his skaters are bringing to the rink each and every day.

"I think that’s the biggest thing with our guys compared to the other team is that we actually enjoy what we're doing," he says.

"We just want to get out there, love it and lay it down on the track.

"There's no nerves, nothing. We just want to get out there and see what we can actually do."

Newshub.