Hedrick skates to gold, Dankers 5th in 5,000m

American Chad Hedrick successfully started his quest for five gold medals at the Winter Olympics, winning the 5,000-metre speed skating race Saturday while Arne Dankers of Calgary finished fifth.

Hedrick, the current World Cup leader and favourite to win in Turin, covered the gruelling 12 1/2 laps in 6:14.68, two-tenths shy of the Olympic record set by Jochem Uytdehaage at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

World-record holder Sven Kramer of the Netherlands took the silver medal, negotiating the oval in a time of 6:16.40.

Enrico Fabris, a 1,500m specialist from Italy, electrified the crowd with a strong finishing burst to win the bronze medal in 6:18.25.

Calgary's Arne Dankers impressed finishing in a time of 6:21.26. His previous best international finish was a sixth-place finish at the 2005 World Single Distances Championships in Inzell, Germany.

Steven Elm, from Red Deer, Alta., clocked 6:41.53 to rank 22nd and Justin Warsylewicz of Regina (6:43.74) wound up 24th out of 28 skaters.

Elm was a late addition to the 5,000m field when a competitor withdrew.

Dankers, Elm and Warsylewicz will return to competition on Wednesday when they compete in the team pursuit qualification.

Files from CBC & CP