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Speed Skating With Shani Davis

Updated on March 24, 2011
Shani Davis in full stride.'s photo
Shani Davis in full stride.'s photo

Winter sports is once again at the start of its season. Included among these sports is speed skating. Included amongst the champions of this sport is Shani Davis.

 I have come to appreciate viewing a great many sports. I enjoy watching excellence in motion, and am in wonderment of the physical abilities of so many professional athletes. Shani Davis is no exception to this view. 

Anything that involves sprinting always catches my attention. I suppose it comes from my teenage years participating in track and field sprinting events. Running fast always made me feel free. I loved the exhiliration that flying past standing objects and slower runners provided me. Although I can now run only when I sleep, where my sub-conscience forgets I have MS and allows me to do whatever I desire, I still enjoy watching sprinting events broadcast on television.

Universal Sports has become one of my favorite channels to view for winter sports coverage. Currently they are showing the opening season world championships and qualifiers for the upcoming Vancouver Olympics. This means I get to view sheer speed in action.

What it is like to speed skate

Want to experience the difficulty of speed skating? Here's what you do, go to a track or a place with a couple of turns in the road pick a starting point and run FULL OUT for one minute and 8 seconds. I mean total full out running. Run as fast as you can, for as long as you can. If you can do that for one minute and 8 seconds, you will know what it feels like to speed skate for a 1,000 meters, like Shani Davis.

Of course, just because you successfully ran for 1.8 minutes doesn't mean you covered a thousand meters, but it does give you a little taste of how difficult it is to speed skate at world championship levels. You will appreciate just how good he is, needless to say.

A Top Speed Skater

Shani Davis owns the 1000 and 1500 meters speed skating race! He is no slouch in the 500 meters and even 5,000 meter races. His speed around the turns can be attributed to the time he spent on the US short track skating team. Apolo Anton Ohno made short track skating very prominent.

Speed is of the essence for short track skating, taking curves on razor thin edges with barely room to extend your hands, let alone pass your opponent, enabled Shani Davis to acquire the skill needed for racing the turns on long tracks all over the world.

This 27 year old native of Chicago, IL has competed in and won races held all over the world, check out his website for his bio. He became the first African American to win a medal for skating at the last Olympic games. Since then, he continues to rack up the medals and the records for his speed specialties.

Steve Colbert and the Colbert Nation

What does Steve Colbert have to do with the US speed skating team? He has become their sponsor after DSB Bank a Dutch company, went bankrupt. His goal is to use "Colbert Nation" to raise funds for the team in time for the 2010 Olympics.

All skaters will benefit from the money raised as detailed in this Reuters news article.


Shani's Favorite Race

In an interview Davis stated that the 1,500 meter race is his favorite. How ironic that it is the one race he has failed to win in the last two Olympic games.

In Torino he silvered in the event and in the Vancouver games he did the same.

He hopes to win the race, and has now committed to the next games held in Russia in 2014. Four years is a long time away, he stated. and he also acknowledged the many talented younger athletes excelling in the sport however he has said as long as he is having fun and enjoying the competition he expects the next 4 years to go by quickly.

Still, coming up second in the world is nothing to be ashamed of. He did his best both times and although favored to win the event, it is not as easy to do when other racers train so that they peak at the Olympic games.

While he usually trains on his own he will be adding a new feature to his training for the next games, availing himself with the more scientific aspects of the sport which will help him increase his speed.

Record Set in 2010 Olympics

With his back to back wins in the 1,000 meter race, Davis became the first to take the gold in two separate Olympic Games.

Shani Davis - The Outsider

Although Shani is a beloved athlete overseas, he is not so loved here in the US. He does not train or necessarily associate with the US speed skating team. His mother, Cherie Davis, has been described in the most unflattering terms.

There is no doubt that he is among the best in his sport, but his isolation is off-putting to many who follow the sport. Writers most constantly be on guard about what they write if they do not want to incur his mother's wrath.

He finds his own sponsors and pays his own expenses which of course gives him more freedom, but also brings him unfair criticism.

Who Sponsors the Outsider?

Davis has managed to garner sponsors even with his reputation in place. Nike, Actemium, BKB.NL and Maple are on the official sponsor's page of his website.

Sochi Russia 2014

It will be exciting to see Davis in the upcoming Olympic Games. One can only hope he will be victorious in gaining the gold medal for the race he loves most, the 1,500 meters.

Cut and Bruised - One Example


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    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      How true! I remember Bonnie Blair as well. Loved watching her in action too. Both she and Dan Jansen cover speed skating for Universal Sports. Jansen more than Blair.

      Thanks for the comment fishtiger58

    • fishtiger58 profile image


      9 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      A really great read. I love speed skating, not only does Shani Davis hail from the Chicago area as I do, born and bred, but in the 80's another gold medal winning speed skater comes from Illinois, Bonnie Blair.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Thank you ethel. You and me both! :-)

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Great Hub. It makes me wish I was younger and fitter.

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Thank you Russ, Sorry can't recall the Cutting Edge, at least not by name and co-stars, which as you know doesn't mean I haven't seen it, just that I can't remember if I have or not. lol

    • Rascal Russ Miles profile image

      Rascal Russ Miles 

      9 years ago from Show Low, AZ USA

      Another AWESOME Hub, Sweet Jen :)

      I'm reminded of one of my favorite movies The Cutting Edge with D.B. Sweeney and Moria Kelly. I'm certain you enjoyed it too :))

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Thank you Paradise7!

    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      Astonishing. That level of physical achievement is much to be admired.

      Thanks for a really cool hub!

    • Jen's Solitude profile imageAUTHOR

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Hi Sue,

      I thought the analogy was an excellent one too. I'm glad the sportscaster made it. ;-)

      I was so drawn to the graceful gliding movements, I forgot all about the hard work it takes to look that smooth, until he invited all us tv viewers to give it a test run without the ice and razor sharp skates and those skin-tight suits. Add all of those things together and you have an athlete worth watching, at least that is how I feel watching them all.

      Thank you for dropping by Sue, you always brighten my day!

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 

      9 years ago from South Carolina


      You always write such quality hubs! This is no exception. A well written profile of an example to all of us for excellence and pushing for just a little more. I really appreciate the analogy you gave for us to have a comparison for just what it takes to accomplish such a feat.

      How cool you used to run track, I am sure as you watch Shani Davis you can feel the wind as if you were there skating in addition to joining him in your dream visions. Thank You for uplifting us with sharing yet another positive influence in our society!


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