The speedskating in Sochi, Russia at the 2014 Winter Games has been nothing short of thrilling so far with a number of events already in the books.
While entertaining, the results thus far have been rather predictable, with the Netherlands absolutely dominating, having won a medal in each event through Day 5.
The United States has yet to make any kind of noise, which was unexpected thanks to stars such as Shani Davis, who had a disappointing showing in the 1,000-meter race.
There is still plenty of time for various countries to turn things around, including an exciting team pursuit event that no fan, hardcore or casual, should miss.
|Saturday||2/15/14||Men's 1500m||NBC||8:30am ET|
|Sunday||2/16/14||Women's 1500m||NBC||9:00am ET|
|Tuesday||2/18/14||Men's 10,000m||NBC||8:00am ET|
|Wednesday||2/19/14||Women's 5000m||NBC||8:30am ET|
|Friday||2/21/14||Men's Team Pursuit Quarterfinal||NBC||8:30am ET|
|Friday||2/21/14||Ladies' Team Pursuit Quarterfinals||NBC||9:15am ET|
|Friday||2/21/14||Men's Team Pursuit Semifinals||NBC||10:15am ET|
|Saturday||2/22/14||Ladies' Team Pursuit Semifinals||NBC||8:30am ET|
|Saturday||2/22/14||Men's Team Pursuit Finals||NBC||8:45am ET|
|Saturday||2/22/14||Ladies' Team Pursuit Finals||NBC||9:15am ET|
Sven Kramer, Men's 10,000-Meter Race
Look, no competitor the rest of the way should garner more attention than Sven Kramer of the Netherlands.
Kramer won gold in the 5,000-meter race in Vancouver and came extremely close to doing the same in the 10,000 meters before a jaw-dropping coaching error disqualified him after he was directed to the wrong lane.
Now, Kramer is on a warpath. He easily won gold in the 5,000 meters with a total time of 6:10.76, almost five seconds better than the next finisher.
But Kramer has zeroed in on redemption in the 10,000 meters. He took to social media to reveal that he will skip the 1,500-meter race in order to dial in on the elusive prize:
A very tough decision, but I have decided not to skate the 1500 m race. This to stay focused on my 10000 m and the Team Pursuit event.— Sven Kramer (@SvenKramer86) February 12, 2014
Kramer is one of the world's best at the moment and on a mission. A spot on the podium seems all but assured if he can keep his current form.
Claudia Pechstein, Women's 5,000-Meter Race
Like Kramer, Claudia Pechstein of Germany is on a quest for redemption after missing the Vancouver Games.
She's also attempting to become the oldest Winter Games champion in a solo event, a historic title that is currently owned by Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, who won gold in the biathlon 10-kilometer race earlier in the Games.
At the age of 41, Pechstein looked gassed near the end of the 3,000-meter race recently and is now hoping for "the race of my life in the 5,000," according to a quote obtained by the Associated Press, via Fox Sports.
Pechstein's time in the 3,000 meters was a sound 4:05.26, but it was only good enough for fourth place and almost five seconds out of first place.
In what is likely her Olympic swan song, Pechstein has history on the mind.
Shani Davis, Men's 1,500-Meter Race
So far, Davis has been the most disappointing athlete in Sochi, but the book is nowhere near fully written on his entire body of work there just yet.
Davis entered the 1,000 meters as an owner of a world record and two previous gold medals, but his bid for a third straight was cut short by an underwhelming performance that saw him land in eighth place.
One person not shocked by the performance was Davis himself, as he told reporters after the event, via Paul Myerberg of USA Today:
There's no excuse. I just didn't have the speed I've always had. I felt fast in the open, but after that, I don't know. I have to look at the film and see. I'm not shocked. I'm very in tune with reality. But I'm disappointed.
For now, Davis enters a bad category of U.S. athletes who have failed to medal in Sochi, as Dave Hyde of the Sun-Sentinel writes:
With Shani Davis, Shaun White and Bode Miller disappointing, get set for an avalanche of American-men-are-failing stories.— Dave Hyde (@davehydesports) February 12, 2014
Despite the slow start, Davis remains a favorite to medal and should hardly be counted out.