by Paul Newberry
Associated Press Writer
RICHMOND, British Columbia (AP)—If there was any doubt about Shani Davis returning for another Olympics, all it took was another surprise in the 1,500 meters to get him setting his schedule for the next four years.
Denied once again, Davis immediately turned his attention to the 2014 Games in Russia.
|GOLD AND SILVER—Gold medalist USA’s Shani Davis skates during the men’s 1000 meters race at the Richmond Olympic Oval at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Feb. 17.
“I have to accept it, but I still want to be able to win that race,” Davis said Saturday as his Olympics ended when he settled for silver. “That has been my favorite race since I was a junior, since as far along as I can remember me skating. I always wanted to win that medal.”
Mark Tuitert of the Netherlands got it this time, posting a time the world-record holder couldn’t beat.
Davis ended his Olympics with the same result as the 2006 Turin Games—a gold in the 1,000, a silver in the 1,500.
“I am sure it is going to keep me in the sport,” said the 27-year-old Chicago native, who in Italy became the first African-American athlete to win individual gold at the Winter Games. “It is not a bad thing I love skating.”
If Davis had won the 1,500, he would have definitely taken a long break and might have even considered retirement.
Now, it’s back to work.
“I think I would have felt like I was very complete or very close to being complete,” he said. “I don’t know if I would have quit or not. I love the sport so much, I love the opportunity to compete so much. Personally I don’t think I would have quit if I would have won the race, but maybe I like to think that a little bit because I would have been complete.”
Davis came around the final turn with his mouth open and arms swinging, trying desperately to make up the gap on Tuitert. He finished more than a half-second behind.
“I just couldn’t man up and do it,” Davis said.
Tuitert went in the third pair from the end and put up a time of 1 minute, 45.57 seconds. After a brief celebration, he watched nervously from the infield with Hedrick skating next and Davis capping it off in the final group, both knowing how fast they had to go for gold.
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 suburban Vancouver. He was only 18-hundredths behind Tuitert with two laps to go, but just couldn’t make up the gap.
“I struggled the whole race,” said Davis, whose finished in 1:46.10. “I could not build enough speed.”
Davis scratched his head, looking unsure about what happened. Still, he’s become only the fourth male skater in U.S. history to earn two Olympic golds in long-track speedskating, and he’s counting on at least one more Olympics to add to his total.
After collecting himself, Davis seemed a little more satisfied with his performance, smiling as he coasted around the track, waving to the crowd.
“He is the king of the hill,” Davis said. “He won the king’s race and he has the title of king now. I wish I could have had the title.”
Saying again that he has no intention of skating the team pursuit, Davis’ Olympics are over.