By Jared S. Hopkins, Tribune Olympic Bureau
8:34 AM PST, February 15, 2014
SOCHI, Russia — Different suits, same results: No medals.
U.S. speedskaters failed to reach the podium again Saturday in the 1,500-meter race, despite reverting to wearing race suits worn from the World Cup season in hopes of turning around its disastrous performance in Sochi.
Leading American was Glenview’s Brian Hansen, who clocked 1:45.59 and finished seventh.
Shani Davis, who won silver in the last two Olympics, clocked 1.45.98 to finish 11th. He is the world’s top-ranked skater but is 31 and it may have been his last Olympic race. He has not medaled in three races.
The other Americans were Jonathan Kuck, who skated in 1:50.19 and finished 37th, and Joey Mantia, who skated 1:48.01 and finished in 22nd.
Kuck said after his race that he supported switching to the older suits and that he was excited to wear it. However, he said he was frustrated with his results.
It was the first competition in Sochi for the skaters wearing race suits from its World Cup competition. They received approval from the International Skating Union on Saturday to revert those uniforms, dumping other much-hyped suits worn through the first six events.
Zbigniew Brodka of Poland took gold in 1:45.006, Koen Verweij of the Netherlands silver in 1:45.009 and Denny Morrison of Canada bronze in 1:45.22.Davis will be 35 for the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Only six skaters that age have won Olympic medals. That includes two men, most recently Rintje Ritsma of the Netherlands, who was 36 in 2006.
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