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2010 Winter Olympics: Mark Tuitert wins gold in 1,500, Shani Davis takes silver

RICHMOND, British Columbia — Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick were supposed to battle it out for gold. Mark Tuitert didn't go along with the plan.

The Dutch skater pulled off a speedskating upset of the Americans in the 1,500 meters Saturday, relegating Davis to the silver while Hedrick failed to even make the podium.

Davis, the world-record holder trying to add to his gold medal in the 1,000, 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, still good enough for his second medal of these games and fourth of his Olympic career.

In his final individual race, the soon-to-retire Hedrick hoped to follow up a surprising bronze in the 1,000 with an even better showing in the 1,500, believing he had an advantage at the longer distance.

Not even close.

Hedrick collapsed on the final lap, falling farther and farther off the leading pace before crossing the line with only the sixth-best showing. He was more than a full second behind Tuitert's winning time of 1 minute, 45.57 seconds.

Davis claimed the silver in 1:46.10, while Havard Bokko of Norway took bronze in 1:46.13.

Tuitert, who went in the third pair from the end, watched nervously from the infield as Hedrick went out next and Davis skated in the final group, both knowing the time they had to beat.

Hedrick got off to a surprisingly strong start, but that may have cost him his usual finishing kick. He knew he was done a few feet from the line, coasting across in 1:46.69.

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 the Richmond Olympic Oval. He was only 18-hundredths behind Tuitert with two laps to go, but he wasn't quite as strong at the end.

Tuitert held both hands to his head, as if he couldn't believe his time had stood up to Davis, then grabbed the Dutch flag for a victory lap while the band, Kleintje Pils, belted out a tune for the winner.

Davis scratched his head, as if he wasn't quite sure what happened, either. Still, he matched his performance from the 2006 Turin Games, winning gold in the 1,000 and silver in the 1,500 to become only the fourth male skater in U.S. history to win two speedskating golds at the Olympics.

He might have contended for another medal in team pursuit, but has said he won't skate that event. If so, his Olympics are over.

Hedrick plans to take part in the pursuit, which will give him another chance to join Eric Heiden as the only American men to win five medals on the long track

Heiden's, of course, were all gold.