- Speed Skating
Shani Davis confronts Olympic history
White and Davis, who won gold in the 1000m in 2006 and 2010, both entered Sochi with the same chance for history. No American male has won the same event at three consecutive Winter Olympics, and both athletes had that opportunity, as did Seth Wescott, who didn’t qualify for the Games.
So instead of having three chances at history, the U.S. has one. But if there’s anybody who can handle the expectations of a nation, it’s Davis, who already changed the record books when he became the first black athlete to win an individual gold at the Winter Olympics.
Embedded video_content_type: Shani Davis talks about his journey to the Sochi Games
He also became the first speed skater to win more than one gold in the 1000m.
So here is the Chicago native, who owns two Olympic silver medals in the 1500m in addition to his 1000m golds. He’s dominated the middle distances—the 1000m and 1500m—and owns world records in both. He’s accomplished virtually everything meaningful in the sport of speed skating, yet he continues to push himself and feed the drive that got him here.
And his ambition has paid off. He won three of four 1000m World Cup races this season and sits in first place in the overall standings for the 1000m and 1500m. At 31, he’s had an incredible season, and is still the best 1000m skater in the world.
Davis, who is known for training alone, seems to have changed his mind set a little this year. He’s embracing his leadership role on the team and focused on enjoying the experience in Sochi as opposed to putting too much pressure on himself to win gold. It was clear he was enjoying himself when he took to Twitter after the 500m.
very happy with speed & feel in 500 today. two solid races & moving in right direction for 1000 on wed. Can history repeat, again???— Shani Davis (@ShaniDavis) February 10, 2014
said it before, saying it again: best is yet to come!!!— Shani Davis (@ShaniDavis) February 10, 2014
He’s always prepared, always training as hard as he can, and he’s always consistent. His business-like approach to the sport makes him reliable, something that got him to the point he’s at.
Davis could miss the podium in both distances in Sochi and he’d still go down as one of the greatest speed skaters in history.
Embedded video_content_type: TODAY: Shani Davis chasing perfection
He would have changed speed skating and the image of the sport, which predominantly features white athletes. He was the first black Olympic athlete on the U.S. speed skating team.
But he’s still here, still skating, and still putting up insane results in a distance known for its unpredictability. And despite prioritizing enjoyment over accolades, he’s still thirsty for his third gold medal.
And the ultimate irony would be if, after all the beautiful faces and charismatic personalities faded, Shani Davis, the rock of the Winter Olympics, made history.
Embedded video_content_type: Shani Davis hopes to add to collection of gold
Best of Sochi