Shani Davis couldn't make it three golds in a row. In Sochi, he couldn't even reach the medal stand.
The two-time defending Olympics champion in the long-track 1,000-meter race fell all the way to eighth place in this year's Winter Games. Meanwhile, the Netherlands continued its assault on the speedskating world, as Stefan Groothuis and Michel Mulder took home the gold and bronze medals, respectively.
BBC Sport highlighted the results:
Canada's Denny Morrison earned the silver. Here are the full results:
|20||CAN||Vincent De Haitre||1:10.04|
|21||KOR||Kyou Hyuk Lee||1:10.04|
To many, the story will be Davis' failure to reach the podium in an event he has dominated the past eight years. You could argue that Davis came into these Games as the biggest star in speedskating, but as Kevin Negandhi of ESPN notes, the Sochi Games have not been kind to some of the United States' biggest stars:
The US star power of past Winter Games not having a good run-- No Lindsey Vonn, no medals for Shaun White, Bode Miller and now Shani Davis.— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) February 12, 2014
Sochi has been kind to the Netherlands, however, at least on the ice. The Dutch have now taken 10 medals in these Games, all of them from speedskating (four gold, two silver, four bronze).
Without a doubt, the Dutch dominance on the ice has been one of the biggest storylines in these Games thus far.
The United States' efforts on the track, however, have been a disappointment. Brian Hansen finished ninth for the Americans in the 1,000 meters, while Joey Mantia came in 15th and Jonathan Garcia placed 28th.
Perhaps the most interesting story from this event is silver medalist Morrison, who wasn't even initially supposed to compete in the event after he fell during the Olympic trials. However, his teammate, Gilmore Junio, graciously gave up his spot to Morrison.
Here is the reasoning he gave in a statement released by Speed Skating Canada, via Chris Iorfida of the CBC:
How Denny is skating now, I believe it’s in the best interest of the team if he races. To represent Canada at the Olympics is a huge honour and privilege but I believe that as Canadians, we’re not just here to compete; we are here to win. Denny has proven to be a consistent medal threat in the distance.
If you were looking for a moment that defines what the Olympic spirit is all about, you just found it.
All eyes will now turn to Saturday's men's 1,500-meter race, where Davis will look to redeem himself with his first gold in the event. He was the silver medalist in the past two Games, but capturing an elusive gold would surely help to subdue the disappointment of failing in the 1,000-meter race, an event many expected him to dominate.
Of course, given how these Games have played out thus far, expect the Dutch to have a major say in the proceedings.