World record holder Shani Davis of the United States overcame a slow start to win the men's 1,000m speedskating in a convincing style at the Turin Winter Olympics on Saturday. He is the first black athlete to claim an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history.
Davis, 23, was slow at the start but sped up in the final 400 meters to cross the line with a time of 1:08.89, becoming the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
Fellow American Joey Cheek came in second in 1:09.16, following up his 500-meter gold. Dutchman Erben Wennemars squeezed into for the bronze.
Reigning world champion Davis has won all six World Cup races he has entered this season, and the win at the Olympics cemented his domination over the distance.
"Ever since I have skated, I said to my friends that I wanted to win the 1,000 meters," he said. "To have the opportunity to realize this dream is something special."
He has been under fire since he declined to compete in the team 's pursuit event where the United States lost to Italy in the quarterfinals.
Davis hit out at the criticism, saying: "I'm not a team player. The team pursuit was the race before the 1,000 meters, so it's silly. People do what's best for them. I had the opportunity to win the 1,000 meters and I was focused on that."
(Xinhua News Agency February 19, 2006)