BEFORE HE TURNED TO GOLD
MY SHANI DAVIS STORY
They told me he probably wouldn't do the interview.
I had gone to the Pettit National Ice Center in February of 2005 to do a story on speed skating. The Winter Games in Turin, Italy were still a year away. Everybody was talking about this guy, Shani Davis.
I don't know much about speed skating. I guess we all absorb a thing or two growing up here.
I know I saw Eric Heiden skate. My dad dragged me to the Olympic Oval at State Fair Park to watch, back in the day. I remember I was 5 or 6. I remember I was cold. I remember my dad said, "Watch this guy. That's Eric Heiden. He's good."
So I said to the guys at the Pettit, "How about an interview with this Shani Davis guy?"
Maybe he'd do it. Maybe he wouldn't, they indicated. They seemed to be leaning toward... he wouldn't.
I learned at that point that the soon-to-be world famous speed skater wasn't always entirely "available" to the media. No harm in asking, I thought.
I know he's given some real duds for interviews. I know he's been aloof. I know he's worked on improving his image in these games, and I think he has.
All I can tell you, is the day I met him in 2005, he was great. We chatted in that prep area, underneath the ice. Shani was working on his skates as we talked. I will say, he didn't seem entirely interested, but I found him entirely interesting.
He gave a great interview that day. My photographer, Jimmy Angeli and I actually won an award for our story. And Shani... well... he'd go on to win a few awards as well.
So congratulations, Shani. Thanks for the interview.
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