Who is the U.S. Speed Skater that recently won a gold medal at Vancouver? Well that skater is the one and only Shani Davis. Would you like to hear more about this news, then keep reading plus check out some Shani Davis photos and video below.
"It’s always nice to go out there and do it again," said Shani.
Davis covered the distance in 1 minute 8.94 seconds, the silver medal went to South Korea’s Tae-Bum Mo (1:09.12) who just won the gold last Monday in the 500 m and the bronze was taken by Chad Hedrick (1:09.32 ). Last March, in Salt Lake City, Shani had set the world record in the distance with 1:06.42, a record he said he could not improve because of the poor track conditions in Richmond .
Until these Games, there was no other man who had won two consecutive Olympic titles in the 1,000 meter speed skating event, and no one else had done it at any distance, since the Norwegian Johann Olav Koss won the 1,500 m in 1992 and 1994.
Shani was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 13, 1982. He started skating when he was two. His mother was working for Fred Benjamin, who was an attorney, himself a speed skating official and his son was a speed skater as well. He was the one who suggested to Shani’s mom he should try speed skating.
That is how Shani became a member of Evanston Speedskating Club at age six, ten years went by and when he was 16 he got in a program for young skaters in Lake Placid. After his time in New York he moved to Michigan where he studied and graduated from Marquette Senior High School.
By 1999 he was a well recognized long and short speed skater who just made quite an impression at the Junior World Championships and got on the National Team – long and short track, pretty amazing right?
Some of his Achievements are:
At the 2004 World Championships he won silver (all-around) and gold (1500m). At the 2005 World Championships he won gold (all-around) another 5000m relay in Beijing. In 2006 he won two gold medals (1000m, 1500m) at Turin another gold (all-around) in the Short track World Championships.
At the 2007 World Championships he won two gold medals (1000m, 1500m) , bronze (sprint); 2008 World Championships: gold (1000m) silver (15000m) bronze (all-around); 2009 World Championships: gold (1500m, sprint), bronze (1000m); 2010 at the Winter Olympics Gold( 1000m).
Facts About Shani.
- Shani’s name means “light” and “weight” in the Bantu Language spoken in some parts of Kenya.
- Davis’ height is 6’2” making him the tallest U.S speed skater.
- First African American to win in an individual discipline.
- First American skater to make it on the long and short track team three years in a row.
- His spot at the 2002 Winter Games arose with some controversy on whether some teammates held back so Shani could win and be on the team.
- Shani is currently studying at Northern Michigan University.
- Shani Davis was the inspiration for the Pixar character Frozone in the Animated film “The Incredibles”.
This Incredible U.S Speed Skater is one of the many American athletes that for sure makes us proud, his achievements take him to a totally new athletic level, but his humility keeps him grounded.
Take a look at some Shani Davis photos and video below.
Shani Davis Video
Photos Credit: Martin DeJong