American speedskating rivalry fizzles as Italy wins gold

AP Sports Writer

TURIN, Italy - Skating in front of a rabid home crowd,Enrico Fabris of Italy won the gold medal in men's 1,500-meterspeedskating Tuesday, dropping American rivals Shani Davis and ChadHedrick to silver and bronze.

Fabris posted a time of 1 minute, 45.97 seconds, then waitedanxiously to see if any of the remaining four pairs could betterhim on the slow ice.

Davis, the former world record holder, went in the final pair,knowing full well the time he had to beat. He finished in 1:46.13.

Hedrick skated in the next-to-last pair, covering 3 3/4 laps in1:46.22, going much slower on his last lap than Fabris.

The Texan,who holds the world record, knew he wasn't going to win when hecrossed the line, shaking his head.

The Italian broke up the American hold on gold medals at thesegames, becoming the first non-U.S. skater to win one in anindividual race. It was Fabris' second gold, having helped theItalians win the team pursuit. He also won bronze in the 5,000.

Americans Joey Cheek and Derek Parra, the defending Olympicchampion, were ninth and 19th.

Davis came out on top in the smoldering rivalry between him andthe brash-talking Hedrick by virtue of finishing higher in thisrace.

Each has a gold medal - Davis in the 1,000 and Hedrick in the5,000.

Hedrick was sixth in the 1,000 and Davis finished seventh in the5,000.

The two aren't fond of each other and that was evident on theawards podium.

Hedrick smiled and half-heartedly waved his bouquet. Davisraised both arms, smiled and waved to the crowd.

Fabris jumped onto the top spot - in the middle of the Americans- and waved in all directions.

After the bouquets were presented,Davis and Hedrick joined Fabris on the top spot. Davis tousled theItalian's hair and they talked to each other. Hedrick staredstraight ahead. There was no traditional handshake between themedalists.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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