I’m beginning to think that I may be better off simply putting the names off the start list in a hat and randomly choosing them. Once again, the old adage that “anything can happen” in a race has been proven true. My pick for the win was nowhere to be seen while Shani Davis, the world record holder and favorite managed to come second in the 1500m, a mere 0.03 of a second in front of bronze medalist Håvard Bøkko. The winner, from the Netherlands, was Mark Tuitert, who hasn’t won a race all season. Not only that, he won by a considerable margin of over half a second, and was the only person to skate under 1:46. Ongelooflijk!
The ladies’ event is a bit more of a mixed bag. The statistical favorite should be Kristina Groves, followed by Canadian team mate Christine Nesbitt who won a gold medal in the 1000m. Nesbitt comes into this race ranked 2nd in the world cups despite missing one of the races. If the result of the men’s race is any indication, the ice conditions are currently favoring the all-rounders over the sprinters, so third Canadian Brittany Schussler could be a medal threat. Daniela Anschutz Thoms of Germany, after missing out on a bronze medal in the 3000m by three hundredths of a second to Groves, will be hungry, as will gold medalist from that event Martina Sablikova, who has been known to pull out a very good 1500m on occasion. Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands, and Katya Shikova of Russia are outside medal threats.
Annette Gerritsen, although Dutch national champion in the distance may falter here as the ice is slow favoring longer-distance skaters, as might her team mate Margot Boer, despite her high order in the pairing list. Another skater who seems to be expected to do a lot but probably wont is world record holder in this event, Cindy Klassen, who really hasn’t been able to entirely regain her previous form since coming back from knee surgery.
But really… who the hell knows what’s going to happen!? It’s the Olympics!