Davis comes up empty in 1,000
Shani Davis went from sure thing to nothing in 2½ laps. The two-time defending Olympic speedskating champion in the 1,000 meters got shut out of a medal at the Sochi Games on Wednesday, finishing eighth in a race he has dominated in recent years.
Now, the 31-year-old from Chicago has three days to clear his mind before he skates in the 1,500 on Saturday at Adler Arena.
Davis was one of the U.S. speedskating team’s best hopes for a gold medal. The Americans have yet to make the podium through the first five days of competition.
“It’s unfortunate for us,” said Davis, who was trying to join Bonnie Blair as the only American to win gold in the same event in three consecutive Games. “Now we move forward and try to figure out what we can possibly do to fix it.”
Davis never has won the 1,500 at the Olympics, earning silver in 2006 and 2010. But it’s his other strong event.
“I just got to try to piece it together and figure it out for myself so I can possibly fix it for the 1,500,” he said.
In the 1,000, Davis had a slower opening than gold medalist Stefan Groothuis of the Netherlands, and then lost 0.35 in the first full lap. He slowed in the final lap and finished in 1 minute, 9.12 seconds. Going against Davis, Dutchman Koen Verweij overtook the American at the finish line in the next-to-last pairing.
“I can’t let it get me down because I have other races to skate,” Davis said, “but I’m pretty sad about it.”
Germany goes 3-for-3 for luge gold
Germany is making itself at home on Russian ice. The world’s sliding superpower won its third consecutive gold medal at these Olympics as Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt captured the doubles competition.
Known as “The two Tobis,” Wendl and Arlt completed their two trips down the Sanki Sliding center track in 1:38.933, 0.522 seconds ahead of Andreas and Wolfgang Linger of Austria, who were trying to become the first doubles team to win gold three times in a row.
Wendl and Arlt followed dominant performances by Felix Loch in men’s singles and Natalie Geisenberger in the women’s race with one of their own. The Germans have won 70 of 120 luge medals awarded in the past 50 years.
Frenzel pulls away
German Eric Frenzel led after ski jumping and then powered home on the cross-country course to win gold in the Nordic combined individual normal hill.
Frenzel, last year’s World Cup champion and this year’s runaway leader, started the 10-kilometer cross-country race with a six-second advantage over Akito Watabe of Japan.
Watabe and Frenzel, who opened up an early lead of about 20 seconds on the rest of the pack, traded the lead a few times, but Frenzel skied away in the final kilometer to win by 4.2 seconds in a time of 23 minutes, 50.2 seconds.
Watabe took silver in 23:54.4 and Norway’s Magnus Krog bronze in 23:58.3.