Shani Davis‘ relationship with the Olympic team pursuit has been a touchy topic since the 2006 Olympics, which is why it was surprising to find the two-time Olympic champion address it in a question-and-answer posted on his website.
Davis, 31, did not compete in the team pursuit at either the 2006 or 2010 Olympics. In 2006, U.S. teammate Chad Hedrick criticized Davis for not entering the U.S. pool for the event in a complicated controversy that also left US Speedskating with some explaining to do. The U.S. was eliminated in the quarterfinals.
In 2010, Davis did not compete in the team pursuit after he didn’t submit his name for the candidate pool by a Dec. 24, 2009 deadline. The team, led by Hedrick, won surprise silver without him, beating the favored Netherlands.
Of 2014, here’s what Davis said in the q and a published Tuesday:
Q: Is racing Team Pursuit in the Olympics a possibility?
SD: Yes, of course. Hopefully I can do what’s best for the team. If they need me, I will be ready. As in Vancouver, my primary focus remains on skating to the best possible results in the individual distances, but as long as i don’t have to compromise my preparation or performance at 1000 and 1500, I would love the opportunity to once again help the U.S. team do what we did in 2011, which was win the World Championships. We’ll see.
Davis would likely not have to compromise his preparation for the 1,000 or the 1,500 in Sochi. The team pursuit is the final event of the speedskating program, as it was in Vancouver, one week after Davis’ last individual race.
The U.S. entered the team pursuit at two World Cup stops last season. Davis was not a part of the team either time, though he didn’t race any individual events at one of the two World Cup stops, being injured at the start of the season.
Davis did, however, compete in all four World Cup team pursuits in 2011-12, when the U.S. made the podium twice, and the 2012 World Championships, where the U.S. won silver.