Shani Davis disappoints, US medal drought continues in speedskating

Shani Davis, left, raced against Zbigniew Brodka of Poland, who won the gold.
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Shani Davis, left, raced against Zbigniew Brodka of Poland, who won the gold.

SOCHI, Russia — Shani Davis finished a disappointing 11th in the men’s 1,500 meters Saturday as the US team’s speedskating medal drought deepened.

After seven events, the United States has zero medals. Davis, who failed Wednesday to become the first US male Olympian to win three straight golds with an eight-place finish in the 1,000, had won silver in the 1,500 in the previous two Olympics, and holds the world record in the event.

But he was outskated in the 17th pair Saturday by Zbigniew Brodka of Poland, who went on captured the country’s first gold medal in Olympic speedskating. Three pairs later, Koen Verweij of the Netherlands nearly tied Brodka for the gold but fell short by .oo3 seconds in the closest finish ever in the “king of races.” With the silver medal, the Dutch team became the second to win 13 metals in speedskating in a single Olympics; East Germany captured 13 in the 1988 Games in Calgary.


Canada’s Denny Morrison, a silver medalist in the 1,000 meters, took the bronze.

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US skater Brian Hansen, of Glenview, Ill., finished seventh for the American team, which faced controversy when it change suits before the 1,500 after deciding that their high-tech uniforms were slowing them down. The Americans switched back into the suits the skaters wore during their successful World Cup season but it clearly did not help. Joey Mantia of Ocala, Fla., finished 22nd and Jonathan Kuck of Champaign, Ill., was 37th out of 40 skaters.

Davis, 31, could end his career in the team pursuit, the final speedskating event in Sochi, The Chicago native appeared to blame the controversy surrounding the suit for the team’s poor performance.

‘‘It took its toll. I spent energy in ways that I wouldn’t have done normally,’’ he said. But he added, “I’m not necessarily sure what is to blame for whatever. In reality I’m eight because I crossed the line eight.”

David Filipov can be reached at David.Filipov@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidfilipov.