U.S. skaters deny rift after Turin Games

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:35 PM ET

Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis might be feuding behind the scenes but in public they're acting like best buddies.

And the two American speed skating stars are first and second, with Davis leading, after Day 1 of the ISU World Allround Speed Skating Championships yesterday.

There were many reports at the Turin Olympics the two just don't get along but, according to Hedrick, things were never really that bad between them.

"Everything was blown out of proportion," said Hedrick, who finished second to Davis at last year's allround championships.

"Him and I are just great competitors and we've got the same goals and if you don't bump heads now and then, you don't want to win bad enough."

They skated in the same pair in the 5,000m yesterday and after the race, they gave each other pats on the back and shook hands on the podium after their one-three finish earlier in the 500, which Davis won.

Davis, who grew up in Chicago and lives in Calgary, leads with 72.21 points, followed closely by Hedrick, the 2004 champion who hails from Spring, Tex., with 72.578 points. Italy's Enrico Fabris is third with 73.013.

Canada's Denny Morrison is in eighth heading into today's final races, the 1,500 and 10,000. He was fourth in the 500 but finished a distant 18th in the 5,000, which pushed him back.

"It was really a mental battle today -- probably the hardest 5K I've ever had to deal with mentally," said Morrison, who watched teammate Justin Warsylewicz fall in the heat before his.

"There was not lot of motivation for this event and, because my coach with dealing with Justin's fall, I didn't get my pre-race pep talk and that's big with me."

Red Deer's Steven Elm is 10th, followed by Calgary's Arne Dankers in 15th.

In the women's competition, Winnipeg's Cindy Klassen, who won both the 500 and 3,000 -- the latter in a world-record time of 3:53.34 -- leads with 76.4 points.

She's followed by Germany's Claudia Pechstein with 78.54.

Ottawa's Kristina Groves is in the hunt, sitting third overall with 78.66, after finishing tied for second in the 500 -- in a personal best time of 38.75 and third in the 3,000 and she's pleased with where she is heading into today's races.

Calgary's Christine Nesbitt is 16th.


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