TURIN, Italy — There was a rumor going around that Marianne Timmer had been angry the last few days. Hell hath no fury, that sort of thing.
A reporter asked her about it.
"I'm still angry," she said. "So be careful."
Judging from the events of Sunday evening, Timmer might consider being miffed whenever she skates.
The Dutch speedskater transformed her emotions into impressive speed, arms swinging, legs driving, all the ingredients for a gold medal in the women's 1,000 meters at the Winter Olympics.
"I was ready to race," she said.
Timmer needed any advantage she could muster -- plus the urging of a thundering, orange-clad crowd of Dutch that filled most of the Oval Lingotto arena -- to prevail on a night when only .06 of a second separated the top three finishers.
Her time of 1 minute 16.05 seconds barely edged a pair of former Olympic medalists, Cindy Klassen of Canada and the favorite, Anni Friesinger of Germany.
"I knew she had so much motivation," said Friesinger, a friend. "I knew she was going to win a medal."
What irritated Timmer? Make a list.
A two-time gold medalist in her first Olympics, in Nagano, she faltered at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, finishing a close fourth in the 1,000.
"That is the worst place you can have," she said. "Yeah, that is terrible. It is better to be sixth, I think."
Then she had a poor result at the recent World Sprint Championships, leading to her first race in Turin, the 500 meters on Tuesday. Timmer false-started twice and was disqualified.
"The adrenaline is in your body, and you really, really want to go to the start," she said. "And then you pack your bags and go home. You still didn't do anything, and your body wants to race."
Her coach, Jac Orie, said he made sure to remind her about the disappointment every day that followed. He wanted to keep her blood roiling.
"All that aggressiveness," he said. "I think she puts it into the race."
Klassen, meanwhile, was taking the opposite approach. The Canadian hung out with teammates, having fun, trying not to think about the coming race. Then Sunday, she set the standard early, staking a lead that would hold up until a series of medal contenders took the ice in the final pairings.
Timmer was first in that group off the line. Her start was good, her finish even better, a quick final lap that bested Klassen by several tenths of a second.
The top two Americans soon followed, but showed considerably less fire. Jennifer Rodriguez, third in the World Cup standings in this event, finished a distant 10th, more than a second off the pace. Chris Witty, the defending gold medalist, was 27th.
"You can just feel it," Rodriguez mused. "You can feel yourself going down."
Sitting nervously at trackside, Timmer figured she wouldn't survive the last two pairings, which included Friesinger and Chiara Simionato of Italy.
But Simionato was off her game, and Friesinger, still drained from the recent team pursuit race, felt lucky to eke out a bronze.
After eight years, Timmer was back on top of the Olympic podium.
"Somehow it happened again," she said. "How I did it, I don't know, but it happened and it's really special."
Despite her warning to a reporter -- delivered tongue in cheek -- victory was a tonic. With a knit cap pulled down over her blond hair, she was funny and charming.
Timmer described taking a cellphone call from the prime minister of the Netherlands, Jan Peter Balkenende, as she skated her victory lap. She joked about raising sheep as a youngster.
"Well that was a long time ago," she said. "My parents had a sheep farm, but now I'm on my own and I don't have sheep. I live in an apartment. They're not allowed."
Her anger, it seemed, had drained away.