What's Buzzing:

Eh Game

Denny Morrison wins Canada’s 12th medal of Sochi 2014, bronze in men’s 1,500

Neate Sager
Eh Game

View photo

.

Denny Morrison had not won an individual Olympic medal prior to the 2014 Olympics (AP)

At the Adler Arena oval, it's now Denny Morrison 2, America 0, so there is that.

The U.S. team's shedding of its 'skins' for more conventional speed skating attire failed to yield a medal in the men's 1,500 metres at Sochi 2014 on Saturday. Meantime, Fort St. John, B.C.'s Morrison continued his restorative run by winning his second medal of the Games, taking the bronze in what's considered the most demanding men's race and adding more to his comeback story. Morrison arrived in Sochi coming off an injury-filled two years where he was set back by a broken leg sustained in a skiing mishap.

"This is something I've wanted to do at the Olympics for eight years now," Morrison told the CBC. "In Torino I wanted this and in Vancouver I wanted this. It's been a long road, a lot of persistence and it's finally paid off."

Starting in the 12th of the 20 pairs, the 28-year-old Morrison took the lead after finding an efficient gear and clocked in at one minute 45.22 seconds. A 23.49-second opening lap propelled him onward into an almost sure medal position.

[Related: Up to date medal standings]

"My plan, and what I've found in many 1,500-metre races over the years, is I can't go out slow and conserve it and try to beat the other guy," added Morrison, who has given Canada medals in both the men's 1,000 and 1,500 m for the first time since Gaétan Boucher's double gold in 1984. "I have to go out my way. Go out fast and just hang on. Today I was able to hang on, just enough.

"It's not quite as, whatever, as the last time," Morrison added when asked to compared the result to his silver in the 1,000, where he raced after teammate Gilmore Junio gave up the berth he earned in qualifying. "To race my best 1,500 in two years, since 2012, right here at the Olympics, I was beginning to think I couldn't even do it. But I always kept believing.

Morrison's skate primed the crowd for a dramatic finish. In the fourth-last pairing, Poland darkhorse Zbigniew Brodka, a 29-year-old who had two podium finishes in the 1,500 in World Cup races this fall but no career wins, posted an even 1:45.00 to bump Morrison into silver position. In the last pair, the Netherlands' Koen Verweij also skated 1:45 flat, forcing officials to go to the next decimal place to decide the gold while Morrison was bumped to bronze. Brodka, who finished 27th in Vancouver, got the gold by three-thousandths of a second, 1:45.006 to Verweij's 1:45.009.

"You already want to puke," Morrison said of watching the other races. "But man does it feel good when you end up in the top three."

Morrison arrived in Sochi on a career downturn after battling injuries. That made the Calgary-based racer somewhat as an afterthought for individual honours and drew attention away from the fact that he was a world champion at the 1,500 distance as recently as 2012.

[More: Climate change and the future of the Winter Games]

The Americans' request to ditch the Mach 39 suits that have been blamed for slow times was granted. It didn't change much for two-time gold medalist Shani Davis, who was paired with the little-known Brodka. Davis started with a 25.75-second opening lap, failed to display his late-race push of Olympics past and came in at 1:45.98, good for 11th.

Brian Hansen, seventh in 1:45.59, was the second-best North American finisher after Morrison. Canada's Mathieu Giroux, who is in his final Olympics, finished 19th.

It was a tight gap among the top 10, but Morrison prevailed. The story is certainly Brodka, who had also never won an individual medal at a world championship, but holds Polish national records in the 1,000 and 1,500. Both were set on former Olympic ovals in Calgary and Salt Lake City, but it's a stretch to say that was an omen.

Morrison had two previous medals in team pursuit (2006 silver, 2010 gold). Morrison is part of Canada's defending Olympic champion men's pursuit team, whose competition begins Feb. 21.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

More Winter Olympics coverage on Yahoo Canada Sports

View Comments (11)
  • Untidy Cook misses out on 10,000 mark again

    Untidy Cook misses out on 10,000 mark again

    An untidy shot prevented captain Alastair Cook from grabbing a place in cricketing history on Friday when he was caught at slip for 15 as England reached 83-2 at lunch on the first day of the second test against Sri Lanka. Cook needed 20 runs to … More »

    Reuters - 3 minutes 5 seconds ago
  • Torres hungry for Atletico glory in game of his life

    Torres hungry for Atletico glory in game of his life

    By Richard Martin MILAN (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres has called Saturday's Champions League final with Real Madrid the game of his life as he yearns for a first trophy with his boyhood club. Torres made his debut for the … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Sane to consider Schalke future after Euro mission

    Sane to consider Schalke future after Euro mission

    Leroy Sane, on the transfer hitlist of several top clubs after a stellar season at Schalke 04, says thoughts about his future must wait until Germany's European Championship squad has been finalised. The 20-year-old has made the preliminary 27-man … More »

    Reuters - 7 minutes ago
  • Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant find Stephen Curry's defense funny

    Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant find Stephen Curry's defense funny

    The question was a good one, because it drew a glorious response from both Westbrook and Durant. … More »

    Ball Don't Lie - 7 minutes ago
  • Briton Adams claims maiden World Championships gold

    Briton Adams claims maiden World Championships gold

    (Reuters) - Great Britain's Nicola Adams won the 51kg gold at the AIBA World Championships on Friday to complete her collection of international medals. Adams, who became the first female boxer to win an Olympic title at the 2012 London Games, had … More »

    Reuters - 12 minutes ago