Janesville native Tucker Fredricks finishes 26th in Sochi

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Gazette staff
February 10, 2014

SOCHI, RUSSIA—Janesville native Tucker Fredricks finished 26th in his third Winter Olympics appearance on Monday in Sochi, Russia.

Fredricks, a 2002 Janesville Craig High graduate, had his sights set on reaching the medal podium in the 500-meter long-track speedskating competition, during what he has said would be his final Olympics. Fredricks put together a two-run time of 70.99 seconds, finishing second among the four Americans who qualified for Olympic competition.

Skaters race two 500-meter heats, with their two times added together to determine the winner. Skaters from the Netherlands swept the event, with Michel Mulder winning in 69.31.

A disappointing first run essentially took Fredricks out of medal contention. He got out to a decent start in his first 100 meters but fell off the pace.

Fredricks was tied for 18th out of 40 skaters, at 35.27 seconds, after his first race. Fellow American medal contender and Wisconsin native Mitch Whitmore was 20th after the first race.

“It was a bit disappointing,” said NBC analyst Dan Jansen, a 1994 Olympic gold medalist and West Allis native, during live coverage on NBC Sports Network. “They're too far back for any medal hopes, but more so here it would be nice to see those guys get out there and have a good, solid second run.”

It was not to be for either skater. Fredricks turned in a time of 35.72 in his second race. Whitmore, who was the only American skater to beat Fredricks at the U.S. Olympic trials, finished 27th at 71.06.

Shani Davis, the face of U.S. men's speedskating, was the top American (70.98 seconds) in 24th. Fredricks, the 2003 World Junior champion and two-time World Cup champion, finished 12th in the 2010 Olympics at Vancouver, Canada. He was 25th in his first Olympic appearance in Torino, Italy, in 2006.

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