Meet Shani Davis: The first African American to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Olympics.
By: Taren Vaughan
Now let’s be honest with ourselves…for some of us, the most exposure that we have ever gotten to Winter Olympics is watching the infamous Cool Runnings movie based on the Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the late 80’s to early 90’s.
However, we all know that sports is an area where African Americans excel. From basketball to football, baseball to track; we have pretty much done it all. But who would have ever thought that we would be number one on the ice too?
Thanks to Olympic gold medalist Shani Davis we have officially made our mark.
Davis began skating at a very young age and developed a strong passion for skating; his main focus being speed skating. In the late 90’s, he participated on the U.S. Short and long track speed skating teams for the Junior Worlds.His successful journey had merely just begun.
In 2006, Davis went on to qualify for the U.S. Speed skating team becoming the first African American to make such an accomplishment.
Davis also competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. So far, he has won the gold medal in the 1000 meters making him the first African American to win an individual gold medal in the Winter Olympics. Davis is also the first African American male on the U.S. Winter Olympic Squad since Willie Davenport and Jeff Gadley were part of the four-man bobsled at the 1980 Lake Placid Games.
Shani Davis, like many other black athletes, continues to prove to the world that there is no such thing as a “black” or “white” sport. His accomplishments could have a major influence on the younger generation and really open their eyes to the possibilities that are out there for them not only in sports but in other areas as well.