A rough Sochi Olympics for the U.S. speedskaters has, perhaps mercifully, ended.
Today’s prelims for the men’s and women’s team pursuit represented the last chance for the beleaguered Americans to position themselves to break their duck at Adler Arena. But the quarterfinals were not kind to them on either side.
Shani Davis, Brian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck (pictured) were defeated in their heat by the Canadian trio of Mathieu Giroux, Lucas Makowsky, and Denny Morrison by just over 3.5 seconds.
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Soon after, the U.S. ladies – Heather Richardson, Brittany Bowe and Jilleanne Rookard – suffered the same fate at the hands of the Dutch team of Jorien ter Mors, Lotte van Beek and Ireen Wust. The “Oranje” won the duel by 3.6 seconds in an Olympic record time of 2:58.61.
And with that, the U.S. long-track speedskaters have come away with no medals at all in Sochi.
Their best finish in an individual event was seventh, which was replicated three times – twice by Heather Richardson in the ladies 1000m and 1500m, and once by Brian Hansen in the men’s 1500m.
Sochi was a struggle both on and off the track for the Americans.
Combining the subpar performances, the controversy over their new-for-the-Games racing suits (which were eventually switched out for older ones), and the criticism of the U.S. Speedskating organization from within the team, it seems nothing went right for them.
After the men’s race, Davis talked about his struggles in these Games.
The team pursuit finals in both men’s and women’s disciplines will take place tomorrow.
In the men’s “A” final, the Netherlands and Korea will face each other after advancing out of this morning’s semifinals, in which the Dutch dispatched Poland and the Koreans knocked off Canada.
The ladies will also have their semifinals tomorrow as well. Russia, Poland, Japan and the Dutch will be involved in that round.