By Robert H. Kelly
In an article on the Mercury News website, George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel, describes the scene at the press conference after the 1500 meter speed skating race in which Shani Davis won the silver medal and Chad Hedrick won the bronze at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
They both assured everyone that there was nothing between them except competition, but the festering boil that is their conflict is going to pop soon.
Remember Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan? Was it Tonya the thug and Nancy the princess or Tanya the used and Nancy the whiner?
People couldn’t turn on the television without seeing their faces. Think what would have happened if the internet has been involved?
Shani and Hedrick are headed for that same abyss.
Yet another view on the post race interview also came from the Mercury News site, showing a different view of the two.
As I watched the individual interviews that NBC’s Melissa Stark conducted after the race, both Davis and Hedrick were polite, pleasant, and praised each other.
However, when NBC showed the ending moments of the final post race press conference, Davis brought up that he felt it would have been nice if Hedrick had shaken his hand after his victory.
The camera panned to Hedrick, who picked up his bottle of water, stood up, took a drink, and sat down.
At that moment, according to sources, Davis got up and left the conference; mumbling something to a companion about Hedrick.
Hedrick looked in Davis’ direction, shook his head, and also according to sources, stated something such as "That's just like Shani."
I am sorry. Shani has said over and over that he is in it for his performance and couldn’t care less what people think and say.
Now for him to say a congratulatory handshake from Hedrick would have been nice just muddles the matter even more.
Many have stated that Shani is not and does not consider himself a part of the USA team. Having removed himself from the team atmosphere, one would assume that being a part of the team is not important to him.
To state that it would have been nice to get a handshake and congratulations from Hedrick after his race seems out of context.
Does he want to be part of the team or not? Expecting congratulations from a fellow skater means you consider yoursself part of the team.
Whether his decision not to skate in the team pursuit was the straw that broke the camel’s back or was just more fuel for the fire is yet to be determined.
But one think is certain, you can’t have it both ways. Be a loner or be a team player. But you need to pick one and stick with it.
Shani needs to remember what happened to John Kerry with his constant flip-flopping during his presidential race. It didn’t work out to well for Kerry, and it might not work out for Shani.
No matter what anyone things about either of them, they have brought speed skating to the thoughts and mouths of the world.
And that is always good for a story.