Shani Davis uses 500 as training run as Netherlands sweeps medals

When it comes to the men's 1,000 meters, speed skater Shani Davis stands atop the world, untouched and nearly untested since claiming his first gold medal at the 2006 Torino Games.

In the 500, however, Davis is just another skater.

And in the 500 — as in the 5,000 — the day belonged to the Dutch.

Netherlands' Michael Mulder claimed gold, Jan Smeekens took silver and Mulder's twin brother, Ronald, took bronze in Monday's gold-medal final, with Michael Mulder blazing to his first career gold with a time of 69.31.

Davis, meanwhile, finished 24th, well off Michael Mulder's pace-setting heats, with a time of 70.98. Davis led the way for USA, with Tucker Fredericks in 26th and Mitchell Whitmore in 27th. Brian Hansen skipped his second heat to prepare for the 1,000 and 1,500.

Netherlands' dominance continues an Olympic theme. The Dutch completed a medal podium sweep for the second time in these Sochi Games, matching the impressive medal haul earned in the 5000.

There have been six medals awarded in men's speed skating; all six are in Dutch hands. A seventh skating medal was awarded to the Netherlands' Ireen Wust, who claimed gold in the women's 3000.

For Davis, the 24th-place finish remained an improvement on the Vancouver Games. He participated in only the first heat in 2010, eschewing his second turn after a slow time amid sloppy ice conditions. He would go on to claim gold in the 1,000 and silver in the 1,500, giving him four medals entering the Sochi Games.

That Davis elected to participate in the 500 at all despite it not being his marquee race stands in contrast to Netherlands' Sven Kramer, the world's best in longer distances. Kramer, who won gold in Saturday's 5000, said Monday he would "likely" withdraw from the 1,500 to focus on the 10,000, his strongest event.


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