I personally know Shani and although hes a really great guy with a big heart, he can do some pretty stupid stuff. Like acting pissed off during his interview after winning a fuckin gold medal. As far as the other stuff goes, when he says he got to where he is today out of his own merit and not US Speedskating’s - he is correct. He has his own sponsors, doesn’t receive any funding from US Speedskating, pays his own way to overseas competitions, pays for his own icetime, his own coaching, everything.
So yes, the team basically did nothing for him - however, I think he didn’t do a good job of furthering his agenda by acting like an asshole on NBC when a few million people were probably watching.
As far as the team skating - the team pursuit - is a new event. Brand new last season, and at the Olympic trials where everybody gets to find out if they go to Torino or not, because Shani had skated so good at the distances hes skating in the Olympics, he had been prequalified. He skated at the Olympic trials but even if he came in dead last that particular weekend, he still would’ve gone to Italy - it was just a formality.
He didn’t try out to skate in the team pursuit, he didn’t express interest in the team pursuit and yet they assumed that he was going to skate in it because hes good. Think about it, if you knew you had a serious chance at not just a medal but a gold medal, would you want to do anything that you feel jeopardized your chances? The team pursuit was 2 days before the 1000m today - his best distance. Theres some other factors that are a bit more complicated but I can explain if you’re still confused.
But basically when I saw his post race interview I was thinkin “wow Shani, way to fuck up your public image.” I know a lot of athletes don’t care about public image but as far as keeping sponsors happy, theres a certain element of public side that you have to display to keep them satisfied.
It doesn’t matter whether the team pays for your shit or not. You are part of a TEAM. This isn’t Team Shani Davis, its Team USA.
I am a member of two teams myself, I pay for my own coaching, my own event registrations, everything, even my freaking uniforms.
I’m working for US Long Course too hopefully this year or next, and even then I still will be paying for all my coaching, etc. Yes I could sit back and be an asshole about having to pay all my shit as a college student to get there but such is the nature of the sport.
I am not a racist by any means nor am I judging him by race, but I am sure a few of the millions will use this against him being the first black athlete to win an individual winter medal. Out of the MANY things he could have properly represented tonight, I think he let a lot of people down. Intent means nothing.
For me a lot of the controversy was up in the air, I thought it was just a lot of media bruhaha, but after that piss poor attitude in the interview, I have little respect for his accomplishments. He may have made it but he definitely but a knife in the side of the sponsors who were thinking of giving the next guy like him a chance.