By Robert H. Kelly
Italy’s Enrico Fabris showed what he was made of defeating both Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick in the 1500 meter speed skating event at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
Fabris posted a time of 1 minute, 45.97 seconds in the seventeenth pair of skaters. He then waited to see if anyone could overtake him.
Hedrick, who skated in the twentieth pair, recorded the time of 1:46.22, knew it would not be enough when he crossed the finish line.
Davis posted the time of 1:46.13 in the final pair. He then skated a victory lap with Fabris, while Hedrick sat down and took his skates off.
At the awards ceremony, Hedrick smiled and halfheartedly waved his bouquet. Davis raised both arms, smiled and waved to the crowd.
Fabris jumped onto the top spot, in the middle of the Americans, and waved in all directions. After the bouquets were presented, Davis and Hedrick stepped up and joined Fabris. Davis tousled the Italian's hair and they talked to each other.
Hedrick stared straight ahead. There was no traditional handshake between the medalists.
Davis’ appearance and attitude on the awards platform was a marked improvement from his behavior in an interview with NBCs Melissa Stark earlier in the Games.
Joey Cheek may have summed up the conflict between Davis and Hedrick best in saying,
If people watch the sport because of that and find they like it, it will be good for us, but if it's blown into this big thing, all the negative things, it's not good.
Davis’ accomplishment and achievements have never been a question. His attitude and behavior has. However, Hedrick should get over the fact that Davis ditched on the relay. That is history.
Today was a chance to mend fences and put on a new face for USA Speed Skating. Time will tell if either skater can move forward.
It appears that one skater tried and the other came up short.
And an Italian snuck by both of them to take the top prize. After all, isn’t that what competition is about?