By Larry Fine
The Canadian world-record holders, featuring 1,000 meters champion Christine Nesbitt and double medalist Kristina Groves, lost their three-skater quarter-final against the United States by a scant five-hundredths of a second.
Canada were joined on the upset heap by the Dutch women, who were eliminated by Germany in their quarter-final of the 2,400m, six-lap race.
It soon became a double dose of disappointment for the Dutch when 5,000m champion Kramer and his two partners were beaten in the men's semi-finals by a U.S. trio led by 1,000m bronze medalist Chad Hedrick.
"I'm very disappointed," Kramer told reporters after the eight-lap race. "I had other expectations when I came here."
Kramer, 23, lost a certain gold in the 10,000m when he was disqualified for changing to the wrong lane late in the race.
The Americans beat the world record-holding Dutch by four-tenths of a second to set up a gold medal final against Canada's men who beat Norway in their semi.
The U.S-Canada women's race came down to the wire.
"I had no idea we had won," American Nancy Swider-Peltz said. "With all the loud cheering I thought we were way behind."
(Editing by Ed Osmond)