Speed Skating Daily: Men’s 1500m

Chad Hedrick in the final lap of his 1500m in Calgary

Canada finally brought home the gold with Christine Nesbitt’s gutsy win the 1000m. The slow ice causing problems for many, with a lot of skaters blowing up before the finish, dutch skater Annette Gerritsen set a great time of 1:16.58 to take the lead ahead of Laurine van Riessen until Nesbitt, after being behind in the earlier splits, pipped her at the finish by 2 hundredths of a second. A very good result for Gerritsen who had an unfortunate spill in the 500m two days previously.

The men’s 1500 is a similar story, with a clear favorite, but with some serious threats. Shani Davis, winner of the 1000m is the obvious favorite, especially having broken the world record only in mid December. Moreover, it was his own world record and he is, to date, the only person to have ever gone under 1:42, and he’s done it twice. The challenger is team mate Chad Hedrick who, while not possessing a world record, beat Shani in a 1500m race in Calgary late last year. Another point for consideration is that Chad’s last lap in the 1000m was the fastest of the field, even faster than eventual champion Shani. In the 1500, where the ability to hold on is more important than the ability to get off to a good start, Chad’s die-hard endurance could be the deciding factor, especially in slow conditions such as these.

There are many excellent contenders for the bronze, who could conceivably snatch the silver as well. Dutchmen Stefan Groothuis and Mark Tuitert should put in a strong show, especially after coming 4th and 5th respectively in the 1000m (and only being separated by 3 hundredths of a second on that occasion). Former world record holder Denny Morrison is an outside chance, although given his poor performance in the 1000m, I’m guessing he’s not feeling the ice too well at the moment. Håvard Bøkko from Norway also has a very strong final lap and could rise to the challenge in these slow conditions as well.

Outside chances at a medal include Russia’s Ivan Skobrev, who won a bronze in the 5000m, and of course, Mo Tae Bum of Korea, who already has a gold from the 500, and a silver from the 1000 (between Shani and Chad). Both are obviously skating well, and are certainly in the hunt.

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