Shani Davis, the 2006 and 2010 Olympic 1000m speedskating champion, finished eighth in Wednesday’s 1000m final at Adler Arena, which was won by Stefan Groothuis of The Netherlands.
Davis was bidding to become the first American man to win three Winter Olympic golds in an individual event, and had tuned up for today’s event by competing in the 500m on Monday.
But in his pairing with Dutch skater Koen Verweij, the 18th of 20 pairings overall, Davis produced a time of 1:09.12 that placed him seventh. Over the last two pairings, he was then bumped to eighth, .73 of a second behind Groothuis.
NBC Olympics speedskating play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson tweeted out a reason why Davis’ loss today in this discipline is a surprise:
Groothuis has now claimed his first Olympic medal and title; his previous best in an Olympics was a fourth-place finish in the 1000m at Vancouver in 2010. He turned in a time of 1:08.39, enough to give him the gold over Canada’s Denny Morrison by four one-hundredths of a second.
Morrison had previously won two team pursuit medals, including a gold on home ice at Vancouver. Michel Mulder, who led a 1-2-3 Dutch sweep of the 500m podium, finished .35 of a second back for the bronze.
Another American, Brian Hansen, finished one spot behind Davis in ninth (1:09.21).
MEN’S SPEEDSKATING – 1000m FINAL
1. Stefan Groothuis (NED), 1:08.39
2. Denny Morrison (CAN), 1:08.43
3. Michel Mulder (NED), 1:08.74
8. Shani Davis (USA), 1:09.12
9. Brian Hansen (USA), 1:09.21
15. Joey Mantia (USA), 1:09.72
28. Jonathan Garcia (USA), 1:10.74