VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canadian Jeremy Wotherspoon will end his glittering speedskating career without the Olympic 500m gold medal after the world record-holder faltered at the Games on Monday in what may have been his penultimate race.
Wotherspoon, who won a 500m silver medal 12 years ago at the Nagano Olympics, said he was not sure whether he would race again after his 1000m in Vancouver.
"I have never raced a perfect race to what my ability was on that given day," Wotherspoon, a three-times world champion over the distance, told reporters.
Wotherspoon, a household name in Canada, was left dejected and stunned as three Asians ran away with the medals.
His eyes watery and his face robbed of any expression, the 33-year-old remained seated long after his fans had left the Oval.
Wotherspoon knows the taste of Olympic disappointment well. A pre-Games favorite, he had to settle for silver in Nagano.
Four years later he fell after only a few steps in the 500m at Salt Lake City and at the 2006 Turin Games managed only ninth.
"I have not made any plans after the 1,000m. No plans yet for the World Cup race. I felt a little disappointed today. Desire's wavering," he said.
It all started so well.
He was introduced to a huge cheer and remained in the hunt for gold, clocking the fifth best time with 35.09 seconds after the first race.
But a disastrous second run sent him tumbling down to ninth overall with his Olympic gold dreams again dashed.
"The finish was disappointing. I was just sitting there, analyzing what went wrong. I was wondering where my skating went," he said.
Editing by Ed Osmond