Speedskating events in the 2014 Winter Olympics wore on with the men’s 1,500-meter final, and the United States continued to struggle in the event.
American Shani Davis finished a distant 11th, as Poland’s Zbigniew Brodka took the gold, the Netherlands’ Koen Verweij took silver, and Canada’s Denny Morrison grabbed bronze in an incredibly close race.
Despite the Americans’ complaining over their new Under Armour uniforms, the USA performed much as it did in the 1,000-meter race after reverting back to its old unis.
Brian Hansen was the highest finishing American at seventh overall, while Joey Mantia came in 22nd, and Jonathan Kuck placed 37th.
Read on for the full list of Day 8’s results and Day 9’s schedule, as well as analysis from Day 8’s action.
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Day 9 Schedule
Event: Women’s 1,500 meter race
When: Feb. 16, 9 a.m. ET
Where: Adler Arena, Socchi, Russia
Watch: NBC Live Extra
Men’s 1,500 Meters
While many expected Davis to return to his competitive form in the men’s 1,500-meter race, he continued to disappoint.
The vaunted American finished eighth in his preferred 1,000-meter race, after winning gold in the event in the last two winter games, and he didn’t do much better in the 1,500.
He finished a full second off the pace at one minute, 45.98 seconds. After a quick start that put him fifth at the 300-meter mark and fourth after 700 meters, he seemed to really lose speed.
Davis dealt with similar issues after the 1,000-meter race, so it could certainly be that lack of endurance—instead of some wardrobe malfunction—that hampered his time.
"I felt fast in the open, but after that, I don't know,” he told USA Today’s Paul Myerberg after the 1,000-meter race. “I have to look at the film and see. I'm not shocked; I'm very in tune with reality. But I'm disappointed."
By contrast, Brodka started more slowly but ended well.
He was sixth after the first 300 meters but closed to third after the 700- and 1,100-meter marks to slip past Verweij by .003 seconds.
While Brodka and Verweij raced pretty equally in the event’s final 400 meters, Canadian Denny Morrison fell off the pace after the 1,100-meter mark.
Morrison was actually leading at that point in the race but ended up finishing at 1:45.22 overall.
However, he still has to be happy with the result. He finished second in the 1,000 meters, and adding these two medals comes as a pleasant surprise, as the Canadian Press, via the Ottawa Citizen, explains.
Both medals were a surprise for Morrison, who wasn't expected to contend for the podium in the individual events.
The 28-year-old finished 11th in the 1,500 at the 2006 Turin Games before settling for ninth four years ago in Vancouver.
But Morrison has since showed signs of improvement in the distance, most notably with a first-place finish at the 2012 world single distances championships.
While the result is certainly a positive one for Morrison and Brodka, Davis and the rest of the Americans have to be feeling the pain right about now.
Davis has been an American star for a long time, but it seems as if his days on the national stage are numbered.
After all, he’ll be 35 by the time the 2018 games roll around—positively ancient by Olympic standards.
Instead, the USA will probably have to consider some changes to the program, whether it’s to the uniforms or the athletes themselves, as Poland gets to celebrate a big win.