Jeremy Wotherspoon finishes 11th, Shani Davis golden in 1,000 m

The 2006 Winter Games were still unkind to Jeremy Wotherspoon.

Looking to improve on his ninth-place finish in the 500 earlier in the week, the Red Deer, Alta., native was a disappointing 11th in the 1,000 metre long-track event Saturday. Wotherspoon was nearly a full second behind American Shani Davis, who took the gold in one minute 8.89 seconds.

It capped another tough experience for Wotherspoon, who will leave here without the one thing missing from his trophy case - an Olympic gold medal.

"It bothers me a little," Wotherspoon said. "Mostly that so much more emphasis gets put on the Olympics."

Wotherspoon has dominated both the 500 and 1,000-metre distances throughout his stellar career and has won 57 World Cup medals. He has set world records, won world championships and is arguably the greatest long-track sprint specialist in the sport's history.

He did win silver in the 500 metres at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, but fell off the start in the 500 at the 2002 Games and was 13th in the 1,000. This time, he struggled with his turns in the 500 and 1,000-metres.

"I think I must have just lost more speed than I thought on the second turn," Wotherspoon said. "If I think back on the race, that's the only part that really felt off in any way."

Wotherspoon, paired with Davis, kept up with the American until the final few hundred metres. After crossing the line on the slow Turin ice, Davis raised both arms in the air and smiled and waved to the fans at the packed Oval Lingotto. Wotherspoon looked defeated and showed little emotion.

"My skates didn't feel like they were quite hooking up just right," Wotherspoon said. "Aside from that, I felt good. I felt like I really put in a good effort and stayed relaxed.

"It was a lot more competitive than the 500."

It was a 1-2 American finish with Joey Cheek adding a silver to his victory in the 500. Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands sent the hundreds of rambunctious Dutch fans - most wearing bright orange clothing - into a frenzy with a bronze medal.

American Chad Hedrick put up an early time that stood until Davis' effort. Four others passed Hedrick as well, leaving him in sixth place. The outspoken skater was less than pleased.

"Once Shani beat me, I didn't care if I got a bronze," he said. "I'm here to win. It's all or nothing."

François-Olivier Roberge of St-Nicolas, Que., was 16th, Denny Morrison of Fort St. John, B.C., was 19th and Steven Elm of Red Deer, Alta., was 29th.


Source: Canadian Press