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Hedrick takes bronze in 1000m
Tim Ellsworth, Baptist Press
February 19, 2010

Hedrick takes bronze in 1000m

Hedrick takes bronze in 1000m
Tim Ellsworth, Baptist Press
February 19, 2010

VANCOUVER — A strong final

lap allowed U.S. speedskater Chad Hedrick to overcome a slow start and win the

bronze medal in the men’s 1000 meters Wednesday at the Winter Olympics.

U.S. teammate Shani Davis won the gold medal with a time of 1:08.94. Hedrick

was .38 seconds behind Davis, with a time of 1:09.32. Davis won gold in the

1000 meters in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, and is the world record

holder in the event.

Photo by David G. McIntyre/Genesis Photos

U.S. speedskater Shani Davis, center, celebrates his gold medal victory with teammate and bronze medalist Chad Hedrick, right, in the men’s 1000-meter competition at the Vancouver Games. Mo Tae-Bum of Korea was the silver medalist. Davis and Hedrick accounted for two of the one-day U.S. record six medals at a Winter Olympics.

Hedrick and Davis accounted for two of six medals won by U.S. athletes on Feb.

17 — America’s highest one-day total for the Winter Olympics.

“My consistency on the laps really brought me into the race where I was able to

come out and get a medal,” Hedrick said. “I left it all out there on the ice. I

couldn’t be more happy with myself.”

He credited Davis with skating a strong race. “He hasn’t lost a 1000 meters all

year,” Hedrick said about Davis. “This guy’s just untouchable in the 1000.”

Davis and Hedrick have mended their relationship, which was strained during the

2006 Olympics in a highly publicized squabble when Hedrick criticized Davis for

not participating in the team pursuit event. Davis declined to race with the

team to focus on his individual events.

But a lot has changed for Hedrick and his approach to the sport since 2006.

Hedrick became a Christian a few months ago and said his conversion has helped

him develop a new outlook on life.

Also competing in the 1000 meters was Finland’s Mika Poutala, who finished

eighth. Poutala has done some preaching and says he may enter the ministry when

his speedskating career is over.

He was pleased with his performance in the

race.

“I had a very good start and a good first lap,” Poutala said. “I tried to skate

as easy as possible, but very fast. And then I just died in the last lap,

because I’m a sprinter, so it’s almost every time like that.”

Before the race, Poutala had to forget about his showing in the 500 meter race

Feb. 15, which he led after the first heat but fell to fifth overall after

finishing 12th in the second heat.

“In the morning I was still a little bit disappointed about the 500 meter,”

Poutala said. “But then when I came here I started to concentrate on this 1,000

meter. When I was on the finish line and they announced my name, then I was

totally enjoying speedskating again, because I had a very bad few days. I was

so disappointed. I’ve never been that disappointed about sport.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Ellsworth, director of news and media relations at Union

University in Jackson, Tenn., is covering the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver for

Baptist Press.)