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Olympic speed-skating race decided by .003 of a second

Feb. 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM   |   Comments

SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Zbigniew Brodka of Poland won an incredibly close speed-skating race Saturday in the Olympic 1,500-meter event, denying the Netherlands yet another gold medal.

The race also saw the United States skaters abandon the high-tech uniforms developed for the Olympics in hopes a change would lead to some medals. It did not work.

Brodka, skating in the 17th of 20 pairs at the speed skating oval, was originally timed in 1:45.00 to give him the lead over Canadian Denny Morrison.

The Polish skater was still in front with the last pair took the ice and that twosome included Koen Verweij of the Netherlands. A Dutch skater had won four of the first six speed skating races contested at these Games and the Netherlands had captured 12 of the 18 medals awarded.

As Verweij came down the final stretch, it was obvious he was going to very close to Brodka's time and when the Dutch skater crossed the line the numbers 1:45.00 appeared on the scoreboard next to his name.

Brodka and Verweij, therefore, had been given the same time and it appeared a tie would be declared.

A few moments later, however, the times were extended to three decimal places and Brodka was declared the winner by .003 of a second. Brodka's final time was judged to be 1:45.006 and Verweij was given a 1:45.009.

Morrison, who won the silver medal earlier in these Olympics in the 1,000-meter race, settled for the bronze in this one.

Brodka skated in the 1,500-meter event in Vancouver four years ago and finished 27th. He has not had a World Cup victory this season.

The American skaters were given permission by the IOC Saturday to change their uniforms for the remainder of the speed skating competition. After abandoning their jet black outfits for a skin-tight uniform, the results did not improve.

Brian Hansen was the best of the American finishers in seventh place. Shani Davis came in 11th and Joey Mantia was 22nd.

Topics: Shani Davis
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