RICHMOND, British Columbia - Suddenly, the race is on.
All those who considered Shani Davis a lock to win the 1,000 meters at the Richmond Olympic Oval Wednesday might want to hedge their bets just a bit. There's an up-and-comer from South Korea who's already claimed gold at the Vancouver Games, and he's looking forward to giving Davis a serious challenge in his best event.
Mo Tae-bum was a surprising winner in the 500, setting himself up quite nicely for a race that's twice as long, the one in which Davis is the world-record holder and defending Olympic champion.
"I'm even more confident going into my other events," said Mo, who gave himself quite a present Monday for his 21st birthday.
Davis, on the other hand, might be having a few doubts after his first two events of these Olympics. He finished 12th in the 5,000 - nearly 14 seconds behind winner Sven Kramer - and didn't even bother finishing the 500 after placing 18th in the first of two heats.
Deciding it was time to start focusing on the 1,000, Davis called it a day, leaving the spotlight to the 21-year-old South Korean who likes fast cars, fast motorcycles - and going fast himself.
"I am looking forward to the 1,000 and will try to do my best," said Mo through a translater.
He's second to Davis in the 1,000 standings, and there's already been a bit of gamesmanship.
"I asked Shani before about the corner techniques and he said, 'Oh, we are rivals, we are competitors, so I won't be able to talk about that,' " Mo said.