Slow ice conditions meant that many of the skaters in the men’s 1000m “popped” before the finish, and were unable to skate strongly all the way to the finish. The end result though was never in doubt. American Shani Davis emerged victorious and was the only competitor to go under 1:09. In second place was 500m gold medalist Mo Tae Bum from Korea, and in third Shani’s team mate Chad Hedrick surprised all of us with the bronze. Stefan Groothuis, the highest-placed dutchman was fourth, and the dutch were also placed fifth, and sixth showing their strength in the event, but without a medal to take home for it.
The ladies’ 1000m is a similar story with Christine Nesbitt of Canada leading the world cup rankings with wins in every event. Second place is much harder to pick, with many skaters being serious contenders in a close and competitive field. After her spectacular fall in the 500m, I would like to see Annette Gerritsen on the podium, and she certainly has the ability to do it, as does fellow dutch Margot Boer.
Other contenders are similar to the 500m field. Nao Kodaira, after a disappointing showing in the 500m despite being the highest-ranked Japanese, will be looking to improve, as will China’s Beixing Wang (not that an olympic bronze medal is anything to sneeze at). German Monique Angermüller is also in with a good chance.
Outside chances – Ireen Wüst and Laurine van Riessen, both from the Netherlands. Also don’t forget the bronze medalist from the 3000m, Canada’s Kristina Groves, who will also have the crowd behind her. It would also be foolish not to include a Korean in the prediction, given how they’ve been performing lately, so I’ll throw in 500m winner Lee Sang Hwa for a bronze medal chance.
Also be on the lookout for Australian Sophie Muir who is skating in her first olympics. After getting the nerves out of the system in her first 500m race, she skated much more smoothly in her second one to post the 27th fastest time of the second session. After qualifying in front of 500m world record holder Jenny Wolf in the 1000m, she’ll be looking for another top-30 finish, and has a chance at cracking the top-20 if conditions are favorable.
Tip: Holland Heineken House is one of the hottest party locations for the games, but is also one of the more difficult to get into (probably for that very reason). If you happen to be dutch, and have a passport or resident’s card, then you get to join a different (and much shorter queue). Dutch people are, however, allowed to bring guests in. So if you really want to get into HHH, go to the speed skating (because that’s where you’ll find the dutch) and just start randomly asking dutch people if they won’t mind bringing you in. The dutch can be recognized by their overwhelmingly orange attire, as well as being generally very tall and blonde. They can be distinguished from Scandinavians (who have a similar look about them) because they don’t sound like the Swedish chef when they speak, just listen for the gutteral g-sound. Start with “ben je nederlands?” (the j sounds like a y) if they say “ja” that means yes, if they say “nee” (pronounced nay) then they’re lying. Your next question would then be “kunt jou mij aan Heineken Huis nemen” (that was just a guess actually, it could be completely incorrect). Actually, just ask in English, almost all dutchies speak English, and all the ones who travel out of holland invariably do.