RICHMOND, British Columbia - Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick were supposed to battle it out for gold. Mark Tuitert didn't go along with the plan.
The Dutch skater pulled off an Olympic speedskating upset of the Americans in the 1,500 meters last night, relegating Davis to the silver while Hedrick failed to even make the podium.
Davis, the world-record holder trying to add to his gold medal in the 1,000, came around the final turn with his mouth open and both arms swinging, trying desperately to make up the gap on Tuitert. He finished more than a half-second behind, still good enough for his second medal of these games and fourth of his Olympic career.
"I don't see it as me losing," Davis said. "It is silver."
Still miffed that he's yet to win Olympic gold in his favorite event, Davis said he'll be back at the 2014 Games to take another shot at the 1,500.
"I am sure it is going to keep me in the sport," the 27-year-old said.
Not Hedrick. In his final individual race, the soon-to-retire Texan hoped to follow up a surprising bronze in the 1,000 with an even better showing in the 1,500, believing he had an advantage at the longer distance.
Not even close.
On the final lap, Hedrick fell farther and farther off the leading pace before crossing the line with only the sixth-best showing. He was more than a full second behind Tuitert's winning time of 1 minute, 45.57 seconds.
Davis claimed the silver in 1:46.10, while Havard Bokko of Norway took bronze in 1:46.13.
"It was a monster race for me," said Tuitert, who came in ranked fifth on the World Cup circuit at this distance.
Davis, who set the world record of 1:41.04 in December in the thin air of Salt Lake City, knew he wouldn't be able to go nearly that fast at the sea-level conditions of the Richmond Olympic Oval. He was only 18-hundredths behind Tuitert with two laps to go, but wasn't quite as strong at the end.
"I just couldn't man up and do it," Davis said. "I wasn't strong enough for the victory."
Davis might have contended for another medal in team pursuit, but will sit out that event. So, his Olympics are over. Hedrick will skate in the pursuit, giving him one last chance to join Eric Heiden as the only American men to win five medals on the big oval.