Jeremy Wotherspoon skated the 500-metres on Monday night in hopes of leaving Vancouver with a medal, but came up short.
The Red Deer, AB., native headed into the medal race in fifth spot setting him up for the Olympic comeback that everyone so badly wanted him to have.
“I didn’t skate perfect and I felt I could have done better than that,” a collected Wotherspoon told Sportsnet. “I wasn’t as fast as I hoped and I came today not totally knowing what to expect.”
With the crowd strongly behind him, Wotherspoon posted a total time of 70.28, bumping him down to ninth place.
Korea’s Tae Bum Mo skated to Olympic gold by posting a total time of 69.82.
The Japanese showed that they were true contenders. Kelichiro Nagashima won the silver medal while teammate Joji Kato won bronze.
In their Olympic debut, Canadians Jamie Gregg and Kyle Parrott had solid races. Gregg managed eighth place while his teammate hit a pylon coming out of a turn and finished 21st.
This was Canadian Michael Ireland’s last race at a Games. The four time Olympian had more than experience under his belt and wanted to go out with a bang.
The Richmond, B.C. native finished with a combined time of 70.62 good enough for 16th.
In an unusual turn of events, American Shani Davis pulled out of the competition before the medal race began.
After round one, he placed 18th overall and dropped out to concentrate on his stronger races.
For the second time at the Richmond Olympic Oval, the electrically operated Olympia ice resurfacer broke down. It happened during the women’s 3000-metre race, only this time the wait was over 90 minutes.
This had many coaches, skaters, and officials frustrated.
Olympic officials discussed the possibility of canceling the medal race and skating it on an off day, but the International Skating Union said no.
Despite the delays, officials concluded the ice was fine to skate on.
Wotherspoon had waited four years to get to this point. He was the favourite going into the 2002 and 2006 Olympics but could not deliver under pressure.
He then had to battle through an arm injury that could have left him with nerve damage potentially ending his skating career.
“I wanted to come out and feel like I was racing again and I am happy with that,” Wotherspoon said.