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Thread: Winter Olympics Torino 2006

  1. #201
    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    My 2 Cents: Shani Davis vs. the World (GO SHANI!)

    Have you heard about the Canadian woman speed skater who opted out of HER country's relays at this very Olympics so she could concentrate on her individual race? No, of course not. Because cry baby Chad Hedrick (or his Canadian female equivalent) isn't making a federal case out of this. Athletes do this all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuinntheEskimo View Post
    re: Davis- he's playing the victimized oppressed minority to the hilt... he screwed the pooch on any possibilities of getting a commercial sponsorship out of this gold... i'm particularly looking forward to the 1500 now, and i hope Hedrick absolutely buries him.
    Here's something that I find unfortunate...When a minority member doesn't play along with conventions, he's accused of playing the race card or playing the victimized minority. In some ways, though not completely parallel, Bode Miller has had just as contentious of a relationship with the media as Shani did in Torino. No one accuses Miller of playing victim.

    Shani never played a race card. He didn't say the media was on his back because he was black. He never said Chad Hedrick (what's with his eyebrows, by the way?) was rather rude to him because he was black. Shani is an elite athlete in a field where there are almost NO black skaters. He is "the black guy." He is in a sport where with the exception of maybe Apolo Ohno, the endorsements are minimal -- even for gold medal winners (Derek Parra is still working for Home Depot). Do you really think Wheaties was going to put Davis's face on its box? I don't. Speedskating is a fringe sport and the major endorsements will go to a figure skater or someone in a more "showy" sport.

    His biggest endorsements are from European companies (I think a Dutch or Belgium bank is one of his biggest sponsors). His biggest fans are from Europe. He doesn't have to answer questions about his race when he's in Europe--even though there are proportionately less black people there than in the United States.

    When I saw that interview he did after winning with that reporter, the first thing I thought was, "What a bimbo." Her job as a reporter is to get information and comments from people who do NOT necessarily want to talk to her. It's easy to talk to someone dying for publicity. But it's completely unprofessional for a TV commentator to roll her eyes when she gets an unexpected answer. She was completely flustered and couldn't figure out a way to end the interview gracefully. That's HER job. He did his job--he won the gold.

    As for Hedrick--I was really happy he won his medal. But I don't like his behavior either and I'm liking him less and less each time I hear him talk.

    The relay race traditionally is done after the individual races are completed. This time, they put it right near the beginning of the competition. Hedrick/the U.S. team never asked Davis to participate until 1 week before the race. That's not enough time for a competitor to change his routine. Plus, Davis brought up a great point--if he had competed in the race, he would've been taking away a spot from a U.S. team member who wouldn't have skated in any other race. Having been in a similar position 4 years ago at Salt Lake City where he went to the Olympics but didn't get to skate, he said he'd never put anyone in that position.

    Michael Phelps did the same thing at the last Summer Olympics when he sat out in a team relay race so that Ian Crocker (I believe) could have a shot at winning a medal. If Phelps had swam, Crocker would've gone home with nothing. The argument could've been made that the U.S. could've won with a faster record had he swam...but you get my point.

    And NBC didn't bother to show Davis getting congratulated by the Dutch team, or the ovation he received from the crowd (filled with Dutch fans who adore him). They didn't air the comments by Joey Cheek supporting him. It's to their advantage to present him as the villian. After all, every "show" needs "an angry black man" in its cast.


    Quote Originally Posted by bbnbama View Post
    I don't know if anyone was watching the speedskating last night where USA's Shani Davis won the gold in the men's competition but I'm sorry...he was so rude to the reporter.
    He wasn't exactly feeling the love for any NBC reporter because Bob Costas has been railing on him nightly for NOT competing in the pursuit (relays).

    I'm not loving NBC's coverage. When Apolo WON the bronze medal in short track, the reporter basically made him feel like a putz for "losing" to the two Korean skaters. Then she said something so offensive -- she asked if he lost because they may have cheated. Huh? There was no cheating. Anyone with eyes could see that! But yeah--that's why the U.S. "loses"--because all the other countries cheat ...

    If I could replace all these reporters with some people who could do their jobs without coming across as hacks, it'd make the viewing experience sooooooooooo much better.
    Last edited by Lois Lane; 02-20-2006 at 09:17 PM.

  2. #202
    C'mon Without Cmon Within QuinntheEskimo's Avatar
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    my comments regarding the victimized oppressed minority were based on print media not tv media (i've dug a little bit into the past of Shani Davis-there are plenty of articles rolling around regarding Davis' contentious relationship with USOC- he plays the victim rather well)...
    i'm also not basing my opinion around one inept interview by an unqualified football sideline reporter (though that interview did nothing to help my perceptions of him).

  3. #203
    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuinntheEskimo View Post
    my comments regarding the victimized oppressed minority were based on print media not tv media (i've dug a little bit into the past of Shani Davis-there are plenty of articles rolling around regarding Davis' contentious relationship with USOC- he plays the victim rather well)...
    i'm also not basing my opinion around one inept interview by an unqualified football sideline reporter (though that interview did nothing to help my perceptions of him).
    Love your description of her (Melissa Stark, is it?).

    I've read quite a bit about Shani Davis as well ... and I don't think he plays the victim. There's a difference to being a minority and playing victim.

  4. #204
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    What an awesome performance by the US ice dancing pair Belbin and Agosto! I was on the edge of my seat watching! They couldn't beat the Russians but win silver!
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  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by lildago View Post
    What an awesome performance by the US ice dancing pair Belbin and Agosto! I was on the edge of my seat watching! They couldn't beat the Russians but win silver!
    I loved their performance too...she is such a beautiful girl and they look so awesome together out there on the ice. I actually enjoyed all of the top 3 performances.....

    and that Italian couple with the "attitude".... they need to grow up and act like adults!
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  6. #206
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    Climbing Solsbury Hill CCL's Avatar
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    As for the interview that Shani Davis gave to NBC following his race - he could have (should have) been more gracious. It takes two to do an interview. The interviewer was asking questions (we can argue about the legitimacy of those questions, or her reporting capabilities) but Davis was not really, truly answering. He didn't want to be there; it clearly showed. To contrast, when Dale Begg Smith won the moguls gold medal, he was interviewed by the Canadian reporter (Background: Begg Smith was born and raised in Canada but quit the Canadian program and moved to Australia when he was 15-16). The Canadian interviewer was shameful, harping on the fact that Begg Smith left Canada and that his winning gold meant that another Canadian was shut out of the medals (That athlete finished fourth; the logic was rather inept). But Begg Smith answered the questions the best he could, politely and with more than one word answers, even though the interviewer was being an idiot. Davis did not. Furthermore, part of being an athlete is the post-show interview. Davis knows this so it is not as if he was caught unawares at the prospect of being interviewed. I'm sure it is not the first time he has been interviewed post-match. As such, he should have been prepared to give more than one-word answers and, I don't know, maybe smile rather than look so grim? He did win the race after all - show some happiness. He might have won a medal on the ice, but he was a bad sport in the interview. (I'm only speaking about that particular interview; I saw another interview with him the next day and he was much friendlier and answered all the questions quite easily).

    I didn't see all of the ice dancing last night. But Santino Rice (of Project Runway) should really design ice dancing costumes. They were all hideously overdone, with matching headbands to boot. I think Rice has found his forte!
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  7. #207
    Rock Stars! bbnbama's Avatar
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    I've enjoyed reading the 'debate' about Shani Davis but I know for me personally (and I'm sure I'm like countless others out there) I don't follow speedskating closely and I honestly only watch because I think Apollo Anton Ohno and Chad Hendrick are cute but my 1st impression of Shani Davis was that interview and it left a bad taste in my mouth. Now, I also read these boards and maybe have informed myself a little more about the whole picture involving him but I can guarantee you there are others out there who have not read message boards or seen other interviews and learned the back history of Shani Davis and now only see him as being an ass...some will play the race card, others will not...and most will only see that he came across in that interview as someone who was ungrateful, rude and impolite.
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  8. #208
    On a cupcake mission! Lois Lane's Avatar
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    Oh my goodness, you guys--those ice dancing costumes were pretty hideous on all of them (that I saw -- I'm not a fan of the ice dancing). Can someone fill me in on the background of the Italian ice dancing couple? I saw that they fell/he dropped her the other day, but before they performed last night, neither would acknowledge each other or talk to each other. What was up with that? (After their program, they hugged and made up--or so it seemed).

    I remember my dad used to watch sports when Howard Cosell was commentating...and he used to turn the sound off so he didn't have to hear him.

    I've been following Davis' career a long time and I can now definitely see it from the point of people for whom that was their introduction to him, thanks to your posts! That is too bad that that's the image some people have of him. But I guess I'd like it better (in an ideal world) if people just think he's a jerk rather than a jerk playing a race card. Hope that makes sense.

    And regarding the cuteness factor, I think Apolo is definitely hot. Joey Cheek is kinda cute. But Hedrick? Ugh! Those eyebrows--his accent. He just is icky (to me in terms of looks and personality). BUT he's a great skater. I hope he does well--but I hope Shani beats him!

  9. #209
    Resident curmudgeon Newfherder's Avatar
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    Speed skaters are required to skate fast. They are not required to give scintillating interviews, nor are they obligated to conform to our ideas of what an athlete "should" be.
    "The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination."
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  10. #210
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    I was watching the relay biathlon. Sweden lost the bronze because the last guy lost his balance 5 metres before the finishing line. Annoying. When it was about ten minutes left of the race our lecturer came to the room where we were watching, and the lecture was going to be held, and just told him that we were going to finish watching. He let us. We were all cheering and then he lost his balance and everyone was disappointed. But they did a good job, especially the third guy who went from tenth to fourth place.

    USA was in the race as well, they placed behind Sweden. A friend of mine said that NBC (or another company) had said that unless USA won a medal, they would never air biathlon again. Does anyone know if this is true?

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