Saturday, February 18, 2006
Shani Davis Could Have Raced....says Eric Heiden
By Robert H. Kelly
Five time Olympic gold medalist Eric Heiden stated in an interview with NBCOlympics.com that speed skater Shani Davis could have participated in the team pursuit event with very little trouble.
That's a tough call. I think it would have been very easy to participate and come back well rested for the 1000m, and maybe even to use that race as training. The biggest thing is experience. He missed the opportunity to race here at the World Cup event in December, so other skaters have the sense of what it's like to race here -- at race speed. In the pursuit, you're skating fast laps, so it would have given him a sense of what it's going to be like for the 1000m. It just would have helped to get a race under his belt, since he wasn't here in December.
Heiden, who is a USA team physician, further elaborated on Davis’ decision.
From a fatigue standpoint, I can’t imagine that a race on Wednesday, only one round, would limit his ability to race in the 1000m on Saturday. That’s a long time. Physically, I think he was more capable of doing both. And he missed a great opportunity to test the ice at race speed.
What does Eric Heiden know? He only won five gold medals in speed skating in the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. He is the team physician for the USA speed skating team, and without a doubt knows more about speed skating that anyone on the planet.
He is the best speed skater in the history of the sport and he won his five gold medals on an outdoor track that was built for the 1932 Olympics.
Could Shnai Davis have accomplished the same feat?
The world will never know, but I think not.