Ok by now we all know Shani Davis is the first Black person to win individual winter gold. Well done, Shani. It was a long time coming and a hard road for you.
So now it is being said by his team mate Chad and others that he was only out for himself because he wouldn’t skate the team pursuit. That he set himself apart from the team because he wouldn’t wear the Qwest patch on his uniform and that he was rude to NBC. His mom is overbearing and they are both oversensitive. Well, yes four times. So what.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the Olympics especially for the team spirit and comradery of the athletes. I don’t like this bickering especially involving the only Black athlete on our own team. It is unfortunate.
NBC played up Chad Hedricks hot pursuit of Eric Heiden’s five gold medal record and wasn’t very happy that the team medal was taken out of play. They fueled the fires of that “feud” all week, I guess hoping Shani would give in and skate for the team. Somehow I don’t see Chad’s mighty quest for the team medal to be a selfless one. He was far too caught up in his own chase for the gold hype. “I didn’t come here to win bronze”. Oh Chad, I hate that. Everyone on that oval has worked hard and want to win. There are three medals and none of them have your name on them until you win them, Chad. Go for the gold, of course, but to win any of the three is an honor.
Shani along with all the skaters, signed a letter of intent before the games. He honored the races he signed to skate. Also,to skate the team pursuit right before his main event would have assured him a loss. Chad knows he would not have done that either. There is nothing selfish about it.
Qwest, the team sponsor did not support Shani. He was offered and got his support from Dutch Bank. He wore their logo. To do anything less would have been dishonorable. Yet Shani lost some funding and training by the US Speed Skating Association and went to Calgary, Canada to train. But, come on Shani give up your chance for an individual medal for the team. Was that the stars and stripes Chad was constantly waving in the camera? No. It was his Nike gear.
Shani honey, you are the only Black athlete in your sport. Boohoohoo, quit your belly aching it’s 2006 after all man. Well folks who think that way should have gone to Shani’s website before the games. There were plenty of people telling him in very interesting language to break a leg. But they weren’t wishing him good luck.
The stories of snubs and overt racism Cherie Davis tells make me sick. The constant vigilance she had to have to make sure her son was treated fairly and with dignity may have gotten to her when it continues even at the 2006 Olympics. I remember her stories. They are remarkably like those told by Debi Thomas’ mom, Venus and Serena’s dad and Tiger’s dad. And neither Debi, the Williams sisters or Tiger were the only Blacks in their sports.
So Cherie is a bit over protective. I guess it’s just habit.
I wish Shani had handled it all better. I do. He earned a gold, broke a barrier and got a little piece of history for himself. So Shani, just let Chad keep talking.