Shani Davis had a disappointing 1000-meter race in Sochi on Wednesday. Davis entered the 2014 Winter Olympics as the clear favorite to win this race. Instead, Shani Davis came in eighth place, clearly avoiding any medal.
The undefeated, record-breaking, reigning 1000-meter Olympic Champion Shani Davis came in eighth place. This is a position no one expected him to be in.
Skaters everywhere were shocked, having expected to see Shani Davis on the top of his game. Mark Tuitert, a speedskater from the Netherlands, was quoted in a Boston Globe article by John Powers just days before the race: “He is in better form than four years ago. When you look into his eyes you can see he copes better with the pressure.”
Davis skated a time of 1:09.12 minutes. This was the best time of any American who competed, but considering that he is widely regarded as the best 1000-meter skater in the world, letting seven people finish ahead of you is not much of an accomplishment.
Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands took home the gold with a time of 1:08.39. Michel Mulder, also from the Netherlands, won bronze with a time of 1:08.74. Denny Morrison of Canada won the silver, finishing with a time of 1:08.43.
Groothuis himself expected for Shani Davis to win. An article from the Associated Press quoted the Dutchman saying, “This is so unreal, I thought Shani was going to better me.”
Shani Davis had the worst Olympic 1000-meter run of his career on Wednesday, so it is understandable why Groothuis felt uneasy about his lead. Shani Davis owns the world record for the fastest 1000 meters ever skated. He skated it in 1:06.42, nearly two full seconds faster than the time by Groothuis.
So the question we are all left with is, what happened?