All that mattered this time was the color of the medal, not the color of his skin.
With a furious kick on the final lap Wednesday, Shani Davis stuck his skate across the line and won his second straight gold medal in 1,000-meter Olympic speedskating.
Four years ago at Turin, he became the first African-American athlete to win an individual gold at the Winter Games. This time, he simply wanted to be known for his skating. Period.
“When you’re a world champion or an Olympic champion, you get this little thing on your back called a target,” said Davis, the first male skater to win this event a second time at the Winter Games. “To go out there and win the 1,000 meters twice is truly amazing.”
The Americans broke their medal drought at the Richmond Olympic Oval with a flourish, claiming not just one but two spots on the podium. Chad Hedrick, who won three medals at the 2006 games, took a surprising bronze after struggling to regain his motivation after Italy.
“I had to dig down deep and find my passion for speedskating again,” the Texan said.
HALFPIPE — Shaun White has defended his Olympic title in men’s halfpipe, defeating Finland’s Peetu Piiroinen to give the United States its third gold medal of the day.
White secured the win on his first run Wednesday night without trying his signature trick, the Double McTwist 1260, then did it on his victory lap for a winning score of 48.4.
American Scotty Lago took bronze.
SPEEDSKATING — Apolo Anton Ohno, considered the face of short track, easily advanced through preliminaries of the men’s 1,000, and helped the United States move on to the 5,000 relay final. Both finals are Saturday, when Ohno can add to his cache of six Olympic medals and become the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian. He already won a silver in the 1,500 last weekend.
CURLING — The Americans are still winless in Olympic curling — a combined 0-5 through two days of competition.
The frustration shows.
John Shuster screamed at his rock to “curl!” then pounded his broom into the ice when the stone didn’t cooperate, giving Switzerland a 7-6 victory in an extra end Wednesday.
Earlier, skip Debbie McCormick’s U.S. women’s squad fell 6-5 to Germany in its second match.
SHORT TRACK — Wang Meng of China has easily won her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in women’s 500 meter short track.
LUGE DOUBLES — Austrian brothers Andreas and Wolfgang Linger won their second consecutive Olympic gold medal in doubles luge.
CROSS-COUNTRY SPRINT — Russia’s Nikita Kriukov edged countryman Alexander Panzhinskiy in a photo finish to win the gold medal in the men’s individual classic cross-country sprint.
n Marit Bjoergen of Norway finally earned her first Olympic gold by winning the women’s individual cross-country sprint.