Skip to comments.Without Davis, Hedrick can't equal Heiden(Shani Davis skating for himself...screws US team)
Posted on 02/16/2006 7:22:01 AM PST by rbmillerjr
Without Davis, Hedrick can't equal Heiden
February 16, 2006
BY JAY MARIOTTI Sports Columnist
TURIN, Italy -- Chad Hedrick's dream of becoming the 21st-century Eric Heiden is over. Which means Shani Davis' national nightmare might be beginning.
With Hedrick reduced to shouting in frustration Wednesday, an American team without Davis was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the team pursuit competition in Olympic long-track speedskating. That quickly, so went Hedrick's chances of equaling Heiden's legendary 1980 record of five Winter Games gold medals.
And that ominously, the focus turned to Davis, the South Side native and 2005 world all-around champion. Saying he wanted to concentrate on his strongest individual event, the 1,000 meters this Saturday, Davis bowed out of the team pursuit despite the objections of Hedrick, who said the U.S. relay would win "a sure gold medal'' if Davis raced.
Now that Hedrick can win only four golds, Davis faces criticism if the Texan -- cheered on by Laura Bush and daughter Barbara during his victory in the 5,000 last weekend -- sweeps his individual events and falls just short of Heiden.
Hedrick tried to downplay Davis' absence, instead bemoaning a lost opportunity in the race. The U.S. team had the lead after four laps, only to fall behind by a lap and a half and lose to Italy before a charged-up crowd at Oval Lingotto.
"I can't think what might have been with Shani there,'' Hedrick said. ''We had a team with good skaters. They all went out there and gave their hearts and tried their best. There's no one to blame.''
But then he changed course on his missing teammate.
"Every chance to represent your country and show what your country can do, I think you should take it,'' Hedrick said. "Other people may think differently.''
He followed with what sounded like a WWE challenge to Davis in the 1,000.
"I'm going to bounce back and prove to everybody what I can do,'' Hedrick said. "You may beat Chad Hedrick once, but you're not going to beat him twice.''
The telling visual -- Hedrick gesturing emotionally on the track after 35-year-old teammate KC Boutiette crossed the finish line behind Italy's Stefano Donagrandi -- is all anyone has to know. Hedrick also tried to downplay the five-gold angle, telling reporters: "You guys put pressure on me to win the five golds. The five medals is not a big thing.''
His coach suggested otherwise.
"Of course, he's upset,'' Bart Schouten said. "But he couldn't blame anybody and didn't want to blame anybody. When he loses, he blames himself.''
The blanks can be filled in easily enough, knowing the contentious gulf between the Davises -- Shani and his outspoken mother, Cherie -- and U.S. Speedskating officials. Hedrick and the other racers sometimes seem like innocent victims in a blood feud.
Asked if Davis would have made a difference, Boutiette said, "No comment.''
Hedrick's teammates in the pursuit -- Boutiette and Charles Ryan Leveille Cox -- were left to explain what went wrong. With Hedrick bolting out like the dominant skater he is, the Americans seemed in good shape. But Boutiette didn't keep up the pace, causing him and Hedrick to second-guess their strategy of having Boutiette in the final slot.
"Our best bet would have been to have Chad in the back,'' Boutiette said. "When it gets to a certain point, your body does give out. I'm not a young buck anymore. I gave it my all. After I pulled my lap, I knew I was in trouble.''
"Me and Chad beat them across the line,'' Leveille Cox said, "but it just wasn't quite enough today.''
There was, after all, a missing link.
Shanni Davis' immediate comment was "I don't care what anybody thinks."
Typical arrogant, pampered, and self-centered athlete.
Outside of a brief Costas mention. The press has has buried this story on a national and international level. The only story I could find was in Davis' local paper.
Do athletes really go to the Olympics for their country, or for themselves?
Send him home on the same flight as the commie figure skating nut job. They can complain together for 8 hours.
May be there's room for him on the Womans Curling team.
How can this guy dis the US team and his country in such an arrogant and bold manner and not be sent home.
This is disgusting and a poor example of sportsmanship and the Olympic spirit. A terrible example for young athletes and kids to watch.
I like the Women's Curling team comment. But I'd rather watch a Curling loss than a Shani Davis win.
Only the naive believe they're in it "for country."
It's about personal glory and a hopeful payday -- let's face it.
That's why I couldn't give a rat's @ss about the Olympics.
I thought about this when watching Olympic hockey.
Given the choice between the US winning a Gold Medal in Hockey, and Finland player (and Dallas Star) Jere Lehtinen not getting hurt, I would gladly give up a US Gold Medal for Lehtinen staying healthy. This is not 1980. That's why pros in the Olympics don't work. The US tied Latvia, because even though the US is more talented, hockey is a team sport, and you just can't put a bunch of guys together and have them play as a team, they need time to work together.
His biggest loss will be the most long lasting. He can forget about endorsement money.
Unlike Hedrick, I suppose, whose motivation (according to this article) is to win as many golds as he, he, he can.
Aaah, a different time when Olympians were amateur AND were prideful in winning FOR country.
Best moment in Olympic history by far -- U.S. vs. USSR winning 4-3 in 1980.
You're right, it has become profesionalized and tainted to an extent.
But there are some athletes, who still are in it for the sport and for their countries...hey, if that brings millions in endorsements...so be it.
An example is the 23 yo. Australian Freestyle Moguls gold medal winner...he is an intenet millionaire. Despite little practice time due to his working on his company, he still wants to ski and compete.
Shani Davis is the opposite...I will be rooting against him and could care less about medals the US may or may not get with that punk.
Calling Bryant Gumballll
"His biggest loss will be the most long lasting. He can forget about endorsement money."
There is always a silver lining lol, or lack thereof.
It was a great moment, and it will never happen again, even if the US wins the Gold, it will never be the same.
You mean the guy who dumped his black wife for the "white prize?"
"Typical arrogant, pampered, and self-centered athlete."
Indeed. Yet, if it's the Olympics we get nasty about it. If it's on the football field or basketball court, we make these arrogant, pampered, and self-centered athletes into national "heroes."
Shani Davis on Shani Davis
"And I'LL I'LL be pretty upset if people got upset about MY MY decisions and what I I feel is best for ME ME because, all in all, I I know what's best for ME ME. And if I I feel that not skating the pursuit will do ME ME better for the 1,000 meters, then I'm going to do it."
Of course that is all a lie because he skated an individual event that he had little to no chance in which was a longer event. It's about HIM and HIS INDIDVIDUAL GOLD. Team events aren't good enough. Maybe he is jealous of the Hedrick guy who is upstaging him.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.