Monday, February 20, 2006


Olympic speed skating: Eric Heiden on the Davis-Hedrick rivalry

I admit I was saving Saturday posts for sports, but I've been caught up in the rivalry between US skaters Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick. Davis stuck a monkey wrench into Hedrick's ambition to win five gold medals in these games by refusing to participate in team pursuit, a newly-invented team race for long-track speedskating. And ever since Davis' decision Hedrick has been pouty and used the media to launch a few barbs at Davis. Ultimately, I agree with Eric Heiden (one of the best atheletes ever, and a cool guy):
Davis did the right thing by not skating in the pursuit. His goal was to skate the 1,000 and the 1,500. He was put in a unique position with team pursuit. It's a new race for the Olympics and the format was something that none of the teams were quite sure how to deal with. With four races over a two-day period, nobody knew how it was going to affect them in their later races. I talked with Germany's Anni Friesinger, who is one of the best in the world, and she told me that two days after she had skated three of the four pursuits she was still very tired. That may have cost her the gold medal Sunday in the 1,000, one of her best distances. She ended up third. Looking back, she may regret skating so much in pursuit.
Hedrick wanted Davis to risk his 1000m race for his own glory. There's something creepy about Hedrick. Maybe it's his smile, a little too big and with teeth a little too straight. Maybe it's because he sounds like an idiot whenever he opens his mouth. Maybe it's fan base. Whatever it is, I'm pulling for Shani Davis in the 1500m tomorrow night.
I agree. I didn't like Heddrick from the get go. He came into the Olympics saying that he was going to win 5 medals. Right there you have a problem, the Olympics is notorious for smashing down egos.
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