Speed skater Shani Davis is seen yesterday training at the Richmond Olympic Oval in preparation for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. In 2006 in Turin, Davis became the first black individual athlete to win a Winter Games gold medal. Davis will try for four Olympic speedskating medals in Vancouver, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
To the delight of many Chicagoans, Davis wore a White Sox baseball cap during his victory lap in Turin. But his historic trip to Italy wasn't free from controversy. After he refused to compete in a team event to focus on his solo races, teammate Chad Hedrick questioned his patriotism, and the two openly feuded.
But Davis, 27, is used to standing alone. Whether battling the U.S. Speedskating Federation with the help of his mom, Cherie, over issues of funding, logos and perceived racism, or keeping a healthy distance from his teammates, the enigmatic skater has forged a solitary path to the top.
Davis won't be involved in a team pursuit controversy in Vancouver. Although he considered skating in the event, he ultimately decided not to submit his name for consideration. And while many hoped he would race in all five individual events, something that was last attempted by Eric Heiden, who won five gold medals at the 1980 Lake Placid Games, Davis opted out of the 10,000 meters. He is expected to skate the other four distances: The 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 5,000 meters. His two best events are the 1,000 and 1,500, and after a dominant World Cup season he is the overwhelming favorite to win gold in both.
Davis also took 1,500m silver in Turin.
The speedskating champ says he is "having more fun" in Vancouver than at previous Games as he bids for another gold medal. Davis tells AFP: "Things are really good. I'm having more fun here than at my two other Olympics so that's a good starting point for my third Olympics. You got to be focused but I do play a lot as well. Out of any other speedskater I think I have the most fun but during game time I put that away."
Shani Davis says he's in "good shape" for the Winter Games. A few more photos of Shani Davis training yesterday in Vancouver AFTER THE JUMP ..