The United States domination in men's long track speed skating events at the Turin Winter Olympics has ended, as an Italian has won the 1500 meters Tuesday evening.
American skaters had won the gold medals in the 500, 1000 and 5000 meters and had two top contenders in the 1500 meters.
But perhaps getting some extra energy from the boisterous home crowd, Italian Enrico Fabris skated the fastest to win the gold medal. His time of 1:45.97 was 0.16 second better than American Shani Davis, who had won the gold in the 1000 meters. American Chad Hedrick, the gold medalist in the 5000 meters, took the bronze medal in the 1500, one quarter of a second off the pace.
Fabris skated his race before four other pairs, and he said he was not sure his time would be good enough to win.
"I was sure that I skated a great race, but I knew that champions like Shani Davis and Chad had to skate, and so it was a long wait for me and I have no words to describe the emotions I felt in the last pairs," Fabris said.
The silver medalist Shani Davis had nothing but praise for the pressure-filled performance by Fabris before his countrymen.
"I think Fabris did an excellent job," Davis said. "What could be more rewarding than winning a 1500 meter race that you weren't quite really favored in, in your home country and at the Olympics. That's something that's really big."
Davis had already done something really big at these Olympics. By winning the earlier 1000 meters, he became the first black to win an individual gold medal at a Winter Games.
As for bronze medalist Chad Hedrick, he was a bit stunned by the results.
"With the past history that Shani and I have in the 1500 meters, we're two tough guys to beat, so congratulations to Enrico," Hedrick said. "He skated great. But that was very unexpected. I told everybody it's the first time I've ever seen Shani and I on the podium in second and third, and I'm sure it won't happen many more times."
The final men's long track speed skating event is the longest one, the 10,000 meters, and it will be held here Friday.