Brodka upsets big names in 1,500 speedskating

PAUL NEWBERRY AP National Writer Published:

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Zbigniew Brodka knocked off all the big names in the men's 1,500 meters, capturing Poland's first gold medal in Olympic speedskating Saturday.

Brodka won the closest 1,500 in Olympic history over Koen Verweij of the Netherlands, who skated in the final pair. The two were initially shown on the scoreboard as tied for the top spot, but when the time was broken down to the thousandths, the victory went to Brodka.

His time was 1 minute, 45.006 seconds. Verweij settled for silver in 1:45.009.

Brodka, who had skated in the 17th of 20 pairs, thrust his arms in the air when he saw the "1'' appear beside his name -- the first major victory of his career. Verweij appeared to scream an expletive and glided around the inside of the track, shaking his head in disbelief. Even during the flower ceremony, he found it hard to muster a smile, despite giving the Dutch their record-tying 13th medal of these games.

The bronze went to Canada's Denny Morrison, his second medal in Sochi.

It was another tough day for two-time silver medalist Shani Davis and the rest of the American team, who hastily went through a suit change because of concerns their new high-tech attire was actually slowing them down.

The U.S. got approval to switch back to the suits it wore during a successful World Cup season in the fall, but it sure didn't help. Brian Hansen of Glenview, Ill., was the top U.S. finisher in seventh.

The 31-year-old Davis, runner-up in the king of races at the last two Olympics, faded badly over the final lap and wound up 11th.