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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 18, 2010

Davis is good as gold again in 1,000 meters

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By PAUL NEWBERRY
Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

American Shani Davis need a big finishing kick on the last lap to defeat South Korea's Mo Tae-bum for his second consecutive gold in men's 1,000 meter speedskating.

KEVIN FRAYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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RICHMOND, British Columbia The color of the medal mattered, not the color of his skin.

All Shani Davis was thinking about was gold.

With a furious kick on the final lap yesterday, Davis stuck his skate across the line and won his second straight Olympic title in 1,000-meter speedskating, the first skater to win this event twice at the Winter Games.

"That race depleted me 100 percent," he said. "I never want to leave anything on the track."

No worries there.

The Americans broke their medal drought at the Richmond Olympic Oval with a flourish, claiming 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 in the wake of Italy.

"I had to dig down deep and find my passion for speedskating again," the Texan said.

Davis dug deep on his final lap, knowing he needed a little more speed to catch South Korea's Mo Tae-bum. The American world-record holder found just enough, posting a time of 1 minute, 8.94 seconds.

Mo, who won gold in the 500 two days ago, settled for silver this time, 18-hundreths behind Davis. Hedrick was next in 1:09.32.

"Those last 200, 300 meters were very difficult," said Davis, who usually leaves his left arm on his back until the final straightaway. "I was just trying to carry my speed. I could feel it leaving me. It doesn't matter what it looks like, just as long as you get across the line as quick as you could."

When he won this race four years ago, Davis 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.

"When you're a world champion or an Olympic champion, you get this little thing on your back called a target," Davis said. "To go out there and win the 1,000 meters twice is truly amazing."

Davis pumped his fist in the air and slapped hands with the U.S. coaches on the backstretch. Then, as he coasted around near the finish line, Hedrick skated over to shake his hand firmly and pat him on the back several times.

"It is my moment. It is my party," Davis said. "I can celebrate. I can dance. I can do whatever I want. I earned it."