Monday, December 14, 2009

What's Up With Shani Davis?

For those of you who weren't paying attention during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy there was a brother speedskater from Chicago who was kicking butt, taking names, and making history as he glided around the track.

Shani Davis during those 2006 Winter Olympics became the first African American to win a gold medal at an individual event and became the first African American male to win a gold when he won the 1000-meter speedskating event in Torino.

The 2006 gold medalist is gearing up for the upcoming 2010 Games in Vancouver after spending a very productive fall on the World Cup speedskating circuit.

He collected nine gold medals overall, is the world champion at 1000 and 1500 meters and set a world record Friday in the 1500 meters at the Utah Olympic Oval in Kearns, UT with a time of 1 minute, 6.67 seconds.

In addition to Davis clinching spots on the USA men's speedskating team in at least four events from 500 to 5000 meters, he has established himself as a multiple gold medal contender for the Vancouver Games.

He must decide by Christmas Eve whether he wishes to participate each one of those events plus the team pursuit event or just focus on his best events, the 1000 and 1500 meters and the team pursuit.

If he does go for it, it gives him the chance to potentially match Eric Heiden's five gold medal winning performance at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games

But despite such heady talk, Davis still isn't taking anything for granted.

“I never like to count my chickens before they hatch from the eggs,” he said. “I'm going to continue thinking I'm the underdog and keep on training like I'm the underdog so when the time comes, I'm more than ready to take advantage of what's ahead.”

And it's going to be fun watching the Vancouver Games speedskating competition to see if he does.

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