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Speedskating: Another Dutch sweep in 500m, Shani Davis takes 24th

<p>American Shani Davis, who grew up training at the Evanston Speed Skating Club, competes in the second heat of the men's 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics&nbsp;<span data-term="goog_328256412">on Monday</span>&nbsp;in Sochi, Russia. | &nbsp;AP Photo/Patrick Semansky</p>

American Shani Davis, who grew up training at the Evanston Speed Skating Club, competes in the second heat of the men's 500-meter speedskating race at the Adler Arena Skating Center during the 2014 Winter Olympics on Monday in Sochi, Russia. |  AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Michel Mulder led another Dutch sweep at the Olympic speedskating oval Monday, edging teammate Jan Smeekens by 12-thousanths of a second, while Mulder's twin brother Ronald got the bronze.

It was the first gold medal ever in the men's 500 for the Netherlands, which became the first country ever to take the top three spots in the sport's most furious race.

Smeekens led after the first of two heats and initially thought he had earned a tie for the gold after he crossed the line. But the clock adjusted to the official time, giving Michel Mulder the gold with a total of 1 minute, 9.312 seconds — carried out to the thousandths of a second in the official results to show just how close it was.

The silver went to Smeekens in 1:09.324, while Ronald Mulder grabbed the bronze with the fastest run of the day, 34.49 in the second round to finish at 1:09.46. 

Shani Davis, who grew up training at the Evanston Speed Skating Club, took 24th in 1:10.98 and was the top U.S. finisher. Davis uses the 500 merely as a tuneup for his better events, the 1,000 and 1,500. Glenview's Brian Hansen was in 33rd place after the first race, crossing the line in 35.64. He dropped out after the first heat. Like Davis, Hansen treats the 500 merely as a training tool for his longer races.

The best American hope, three-time Olympian Tucker Fredricks of Janesville, Wis., struggled through two sluggish races and finished 26th out of 40 skaters, a staggering 1.68 off the combined pace of the gold medalist.

Defending Olympic champion Mo Tae-bum was fourth, with the other medalists from the 2010 Winter Games taking the next two spots: 2010 bronze winner Joji Kato of Japan was fifth, while countryman and reigning silver medalist Keiichiro Nagashima was sixth.

Smeekens led after the opening heat, posting a time of 34.59 seconds to claim the coveted final race of the second round, which meant he would know the time to beat.

Turns out, he just missed.

Smeekens thought he had tied it when the scoreboard flashed the unofficial time, slapping his coach's hand and rocking his head back in delight. But the slight adjustment to the official time — common in speedskating — forced him to settle for silver.

Mulder, watching the scoreboard intently from the infield, began jumping around in delight when he realized he had the gold. And having his twin brother on the medal stand with him only made it sweeter.

The Dutch are blowing away the competition at Adler Arena, also going 1-2-3 in the men's 5,000, with Sven Kramer taking gold, and taking the top spot in the women's 3,000 with Ireen Wust.

Yes, orange is the dominant color in this Sochi Olympic stadium.

Want more Olympic news? We're following local athletes in Sochi. Check out our Winter Olympics section for the latest.

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