Davis second in 1,500, vows to try again in '14 Ohno gets historic 7th
By PAUL NEWBERRY
RICHMOND, British Columbia — Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick were supposed to battle it out for gold. Mark Tuitert didn't go along with the plan.
The Dutch skater pulled off an Olympic speedskating upset of the Americans in the 1,500 meters yesterday, relegating Davis to the silver while Hedrick failed to even make the podium.
Davis, the world-record holder trying to add to his gold medal in the 1,000, came around the final turn with his mouth open and both arms swinging, trying desperately to make up the gap on Tuitert. He finished more than a half-second behind, still good enough for his second medal of these games and fourth of his Olympic career.
"I don't see it as me losing," Davis said. "It is silver."
Still miffed that he's yet to win Olympic gold in his favorite event, Davis said he'll be back at the 2014 Games to take another shot at the 1,500.
"I am sure it is going to keep me in the sport," the 27-year-old skater said.
Not Hedrick. In his final individual race, the soon-to-retire Texan hoped to follow up a surprising bronze in the 1,000 with an even better showing in the 1,500, believing he had an advantage at the longer distance.
Not even close.
Hedrick collapsed on the final lap, falling farther and farther off the leading pace before crossing the line with only the sixth-best showing. He was more than a full second behind Tuitert's winning time of 1 minute, 45.57 seconds.
Davis claimed the silver in 1:46.10, while Havard Bokko of Norway took bronze in 1:46.13.
"It was a monster race for me," said Tuitert, who came in ranked only fifth on the World Cup circuit at this distance. "Shani has been winning everything, Chad was so good and then I produce this race."
Hedrick was reliving cruel memories of the 1,500 four years ago in Turin, where Italy's Enrico Fabris ruined another Davis-Hedrick showdown by winning gold, leaving the Americans to settle for silver and bronze.
"It's the second time in a row that Shani and I have gotten this race stolen from us," Hedrick said. "We go in as heavy favorites each time, and it is some special skater every time that comes in."
Tuitert, who went in the third pair from the end, watched nervously from the infield as Hedrick skated next and Davis capped it off in the final group, both knowing the time they had to beat.
Hedrick got off to a surprisingly strong start, but that may have cost him his usual finishing kick. He knew he was done a few feet from the line, coasting across in 1:46.69.
"It couldn't happen to a better guy. He beat me pretty good," Hedrick said. "For him to go out there and fight like he did is incredible."