A Special Daily Resource Shared by Kerry Ruff
Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
Shani Earl Davis was born on August 13, 1982 in Chicago Illinois to Reginald Shuck and Cherie Davis. His father chose the name Shani from an African name dictionary and it means “adventure, marvelous”. Shani’s mom worked for a local lawyer who was an official for speed skater and his son was an elite level speed skater. At the age of six, Cherie enrolled Shani at a skating club and to get her son to reach his maximum potential, she would wake Shani up in the morning to run a mile to build up his endurance. At the age of 16, Shani was invited to New York to participate in a development program for young speed skaters. After training there for a year, Mr. Davis pursued his Olympic dreams and moved to Michigan to further his training. While there, he would graduate from high school where he also ran track his senior year. In 2000, Shani made history by becoming the first U.S skater to make the long and short track teams at the Junior World Teams and he is still the only U.S skater to do it three years in a row (2000, 2001 and 2002). Shani is 6 feet 2 inches tall, making him unique among the much shorter skaters. The extra height made it easier for Mr. Davis to race low to the ice. At the 2002 Winter Olympics, Shani competed for a spot on the Olympics short track team; he won that spot, making him the first African American skater to earn that spot. In 2003, Shani would make the jump from junior competition to men’s speed skating and after earning the title of North American long track champion; he was qualified for the World Championship in Sweden. During the race, Shani had not yet adjusted to skating in the men’s division so he finished 16th overall. In 2004, Mr. Davis became a North American champion for a second consecutive year and he would place 2nd overall at the 2004 World All-round Long track championships but a month later, he won the Men’s World Single Distance Championship. Shani set three world records in 2005, he broke the world record for the 1500m race, he set the world record for best overall time and he broke another world record at the World cup match. Mr. Davis did not have to participate at the Olympic Trials in 2005 because his performances already pre-qualified him for the 2006 Winter Olympic Team. At those games, Shani Davis became the first African American athlete to win a gold medal in an individual event at the Winter Games. He won the gold for the speed skating 1000-meter event and won a silver medal in the 1500-meter event. At the 2010 Winter Olympics, he became the first man to successfully repeat history by getting gold again in the 1000-meter event and a silver medal in the 1500 event. Shani Davis has won six World Single Distance Championships titles, 3 in the 1500-meter event (2004, 2007, and 2009) and three in the 1000-meter event (2007, 2008, and 2011). He has led the United States to its first and only World Championship gold medal in the Team Pursuit event in 2011 and he has won ten career Overall World Cup titles. Shani has earned the title of Grand World Cup Champion for the 2013-2014 season, earning the most points across all distances. Mr. Davis has 58 career individual victories on the Speed Skating World Cup circuit. Today we honor the man who skated his way into history and did it from hard work and dedication and by being consistent. Happy Black History Month. Thank you.
Allegedly, Frozone, an African American superhero with ice powers from the animated movie, The Incredibles was inspired by Shani Davis