American Shani Davis falls short in 1,000 meters 

click to enlarge MATT DUNHAM/AP
  • Matt Dunham/ap
American Shani Davis’ shot at Olympic history ended when Stefan Groothuis won gold for the Netherlands in the 1,000 meters, ending the American’s hopes of becoming the first male speedskater to win the same event at three straight Olympics.

Canada’s Denny Morrison took the silver in 1:08.43 and the Netherlands’ Michel Mulder took bronze in 1:08.74.

As for Davis, it was a stunning defeat for one of the greatest speedskaters ever.

“I have to live with this rest of my life,” Davis said.

After Davis completed the first full lap of the 2½-lap race, it was clear his reign was over. He crossed the line more than seventh-tenths of a second behind Groothuis’ winning time of 1 minute, 8.39 seconds.

“I just had a misfortunate race,” said Davis, who wound up eighth and gave Groothuis a congratulatory pat on the back after the final pair was done.

Groothuis fought depression — he has even contemplated suicide — to earn the fourth gold medal in five speedskating events for the Dutch at these Winter Games. At 32, he became the oldest gold medalist ever in the 1,000, sparking another orange-clad celebration on the infield.

“This is so unreal,” he said. “I thought Shani was going to better me.”

This was a thrilling moment for Groothuis. There have been plenty of low points along the way, too.

He recently discussed how close he came to killing himself.

“I think I was pretty close, and that is pretty shocking to say,” he recently told Dutch national broadcaster NOS. “Everyone can create hell in his head. When he gets those kinds of thoughts, everything turns black. Blacker than black.”

Davis’ time was 1:09.12 — a bitter disappointment for an American team that came to Sochi with high hopes but has yet to earn a spot on the podium. Brian Hansen of Glenview, Ill., was ninth and said afterward that he was battling an illness. Joey Mantia of Ocala, Fla., settled for 15th and Jonathan Garcia of Houston was 28th.

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