When asked if they recognize the name of Shani Davis, many will probably first think back to the 2006 Winter Olympics held in Turin where there was so much controversy regarding why Davis was not going to participate in the Speedskating Pursuit competition. With the way the situation was handled and addressed — or in this case not addressed by U.S. Speedskating — Davis has kept a distance and not had any relations with the federation since then.
To only know about Davis through that incident would be to do yourself a disservice. In the time before and after that incident, Davis has gone on to become of the of the best if not the best all-around male speedskater in the world, and at the 2014 Sochi Games, Davis will have a chance to cement his name as one of the greatest male speedskaters ever. Davis has already qualified for the 500 meters, the 1,000 meters, and the 1,500 meters, and he will go in as one the favorites if not the favorite in each event.
At the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Davis won a gold and a silver. He claimed the silver in the 1,500 meters and won gold in the 1,000 meters. Ironically enough, Davis won the same medal in each respective event at the 2006 Turin Games. Since the last Olympics, Davis has won a bronze at the 2011 World Sprint Championships and two gold medals, two silver medals, and two bronze medals at the World Single Distance Championships. Not only has Davis been one of the most consistent speedskaters in the last several years, but he holds several world records as he is the current world record holder in the 1,000 meters, 1,500 meters, and in the Samalog.
Whether it is the Summer or Winter Olympics, the American public likes to attach itself to an athlete with a great back story who ends up winning medals along the way. Given that Shani Davis is in a position where he potentially could accomplish what no American male speedskater has been able to do since the great Eric Heiden, his story along with potential accomplishments will make for a fascinating watch.