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SOCHI, Russia – Shani Davis enters the men's 1,000 meter chasing Olympic history.

He's won gold in the 1,000 in each of the last two Olympic Games, in Torino in 2006 and Vancouver in 2010. With a similar result in today's race, he'd become the first American male speed skater to claim gold in the same event in three consecutive Olympics.

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Photos: Shani Davis takes the ice

Once again, he enters the 1,000 as a very strong favorite. If another skater – like South Korea's Mo Tae Bum, Kazakhstan's Denis Kuzan or teammate Brian Hansen – might grab a surprise gold, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where Davis doesn't finish on the medal podium.

With another top-three finish, Davis would tie Eric Heiden for the most medals by an American male skater.

After a 24th-place finish in the 500, a race he essentially uses as a training run for the 1,000 and 1,500, Davis said he's "in the best shape I can possibly be in."

It's on his shoulders to defend the crown, Davis said, "and defending is always harder than trying to be on the offense."

"I have a lot on my shoulders, but again, I'll do the best I can," he said. "If it's meant for me to win the race I'll win it."

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