Sunday, February 15, 1998
Dutch dominate speed skating's 1,000 metres
Dutch veterans Ids Postma and Jan Bos finished 1-2 in the 1,000-metre long-track event while the Canadian team, favored for at least a medal, was shut out.
"I haven't talked to the others but I think everybody's disappointed," said Jeremy Wotherspoon of Red Deer, Alta., the world record holder in the event who faltered on his second lap and finished sixth.
"We all thought we'd do a lot better. We're all capable of winning a medal but no one had their best race today."
Postma's winning time of one minute 10.64 seconds shattered the Olympic record of 1:12.43 set by American Dan Jansen at Lillehammer, Norway, in 1994.
But it was well off the world mark of 1:10.16 set by Wotherspoon in Calgary last Dec. 29.
Hiroyasu Shimizu of Japan delighted the home crowd with his second medal of the Games when he took the bronze just ahead of Dutch skater Jakko Jan Leeuwangh.
"At the end, I died pretty bad," said Wotherspoon, 21, who was ahead of Postma's time 600 metres into the race. "I think that's where I lost the race.
"But that's the race I did and there's nothing I can change now. I'll just have to move on with my life."
Sylvain Bouchard of Loretteville, Que., was top Canadian in fifth place.
"That's life -- that's sport," said Bouchard, 27. "My Olympic dream is over and my dream of the medal is over.
"That's how it goes. Technically, I could have done better. It wasn't my best race, but that's Olympic sport."
Kevin Overland of Kitchener, Ont., was tied for ninth with Peter Adeberg of Germany. Patrick Bouchard of Cap-Rouge, Que., no relation to Sylvain, was 19th.
Canada had earlier taken four medals in long-track speed skating and still has a shot at more with Catriona Le May Doan of Saskatoon going for a second gold Monday in the women's 1,500 metres.
Le May Doan and Susan Auch of Winnipeg finished 1-2 in the women's 500. Wotherspoon and Overland finished second and third behind Shimizu in the men's 500.
Gaetan Boucher, whose four career Olympic medals included a gold in the 1,000 metres at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo, said specialists in longer distances had the advantage on the hard M-Wave ice over Canada's strong sprinters.
"Today, you have to look at the ice temperature," said Boucher. "This ice is best for longer distances like the 1,500 or the 5,000.
"Sprinters push harder and when the ice is too hard, it breaks. The 1,500 skaters had the advantage and Postma and Bos are both 1,500 skaters."
Postma had earlier won a silver medal in the 1,500 behind Norwegian Adne Sondral, who missed the 1,000 with a flu.
Wotherspoon was latest of five skaters, which included Bos, who set world records in the event in 1997 using the new clap skates that have added serious speed to an already lightning-quick sport.
"It's been like this all year with these new skates," said Wotherspoon. "People get better every year, but the skates have made the biggest difference.
"But no matter what skates you have, you don't win if you don't have your best run. That's what happened today."