Speedskating is one of the oldest sports in the Winter Olympics and has been a part of the Games since their inception at the inaugural event in 1924.
In long-track speedskating, two rivals square off on a two-lane, 400-meter track. Though they are racing against each other, they are really competing against the clock. The skaters with the fastest times will move on to the medal rounds.
Speedskating is among the more popular Winter Olympic events because it is a fast-paced race against the clock. The speed, agility and endurance required to make it to the podium epitomize what it is to be an Olympian.
Men's speedskating is held at distances of 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meters for individuals. Here is the schedule for the men's 1,000-meter medal round so you can be sure not to miss a second of the action.
9 a.m. ET—Men's 1,000 meters
In December, Team USA established itself as a major contender to dominate the Olympic podium in Sochi with strong individual showings at the Olympic trials at the Utah Olympic Oval.
Led by two-time gold medalist Shani Davis, the United States long-track speedskating team looks formidable, particularly in Davis's premier event, the 1,000-meter skate. Though Davis is the most recognizable name of the contenders and a strong favorite for the win, he will face some serious opposition.
South Korea's Mo Tae-bum turned in an encouraging performance at the World Cup in December, and while his form has been inconsistent, his best is good enough to medal.
Will Shani Davis make history again?
With two Olympic men's long-track 1,000-meter speedskating gold medals to his credit, it is safe to say Shani Davis has nothing left to prove. He made history as the first African-American to take home an individual gold medal when he topped the podium in Turin in 2006. In Sochi, he will attempt to become the first male Olympian to win three consecutive gold medals in the same event for Team USA.
Will the Dutch dominance continue?
Though the United States has long been viewed as a powerhouse on the long-track, the Netherlands are displaying their dominance as well. In the men's 5,000-meter event, Sven Kramer topped the Dutch trifecta on the podium with his teammates, Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma, taking silver and bronze. So far, the Dutch have claimed four medals, including two gold, and they will be Team USA's stiffest competition.
A clear front-runner, Davis is in pursuit of more than just a medal in Sochi. The 31-year-old Chicago native is looking to add another chapter to the history books and an exclamation point to an already illustrious career. He appears to be heading toward his date with destiny in good order, and his form is too sharp to overlook.
South Korea's Mo Tae-bum will be trying to avenge his loss to Davis in the Vancouver Games. Though he finished second in the 1,000-meter event, he did capture a gold in the 500-meter skate and is a well-decorated Olympian in his own right. Though his greatest achievements have come in the 500-meter, he did win both the 500-meter and 1,000-meter event at the World Cup race in Berlin in 2013.
Making his Olympic debut and representing Kazakhstan, the 25-year-old is the reigning world champion at the 1,000-meter distance. His victory came in Sochi in March 2013, and his familiarity with the course can only work to his advantage.
The excitement was tangible at the U.S. Speedskating Trials in January when the indomitable Shani Davis won by a mere one-hundredth of a second. In a sport where the margin of victory or defeat can be so minute, there is no room for error, and Hansen will be ready to capitalize if his teammate makes a rare misstep.
After suffering a devastating defeat by his own hands at the U.S. Olympic Trials, Garcia redeemed himself the next day and qualified for Sochi in the 1,000-meter event. Though he only narrowly made the team and will need to turn in the performance of his life to medal against the legends he will face in Sochi, his best effort is good enough to make him a contender.
The men's 1,000-meter long-track speedskating event is a must-watch of the 2014 Sochi Games. With history and legacy on the line, it should be a fast-paced race for the ages.
Gold: Shani Davis
Silver: Denis Kuzin
Bronze: Mo Tae-bum