Speed skater Shani Davis hot over not being flag-bearer: 'Team USA dishonorably tossed a coin'

On Wednesday, Team USA announced that veteran luger Erin Hamlin will be the flag-bearer for Friday’s opening ceremony at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium.

On Thursday, U.S. speed skater Shani Davis torched the decision after he lost a tiebreaker coin toss that kept him from carrying the Stars and Stripes.

“I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event,” Davis wrote. “@TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022.”


It appears we have our first Team USA controversy between athletes before the opening ceremony. And it seems to be part of a larger rift among the eight U.S. winter sports federations, who couldn’t decide amongst themselves who should lead the team.

“We feel strongly toward Shani and they felt strongly for Erin,” U.S. speed skater Joey Mantia told the Associated Press. “That’s just that.”

Shani Davis through the years
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Shani Davis through the years
HAMAR, NORWAY: US skater Shani Davis skates into second place in the men's 10000m event of the World Speedskating Championships in Hamar, central Norway, 08 February 2004. AFP PHOTO/SCANPIX/CORNELIUS POPPE (Photo credit should read CORNELIUS POPPE/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIAN FEDERATION: World champion Shani Davis (C) of te USA shows his gold medal during the medal ceremony in Moscow 06 February 2005. US Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick topped the men's overall standings Saturday after two races at the World Allround Speedskating Championships. Davis led the field with 74.969 points, with Hedrick just 0.13 points behind. Sven Kramer of the Netherlands was in third with 75.917. AFP PHOTO / MAXIM MARMUR (Photo credit should read MAXIM MARMUR/AFP/Getty Images)
TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 08: U.S. Speed Skater Shani Davis, of Chicago, Illinois, attends a news conference prior to the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 8, 2006 in Turin, Italy. The opening ceremony will take place on February 10, 2006 at the Olympic Stadium. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Turin, ITALY: Gold medalist US Shani Davis (C), silver medalist US Joe Cheek (L) and bronze medalist Dutch Erben Wennemars pose on the podium of the Men's 1000m speed skating competition at the 2006 Winter Olympics 18 February 2006, at the Oval Lingotto in Turin. AFP PHOTO/FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 21: Shani Davis of the United States waves to the crowd after competing in the men's 1500m speed skating final during Day 11 of the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games on February 21, 2006 at the Oval in Turin, Italy. Davis won the Silver Medal. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
ITALY - FEBRUARY 18: Speed skater Shani Davis of the U.S. flies around the track as he competes in the men's 1,000-meter race at the Oval Lingotto during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Davis went on to claim the gold medal in the event with a time of 1:08.89. (Photo by Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
TURIN - FEBRUARY 24: (US TV OUT) United States Gold and Bronze medalist Shani Davis poses for a photo before appearing on NBC's Today Show during the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games February 24, 2006 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)
HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 09: Shani Davis of the U.S.A. celebrates after winning the 1000m heat during Day 3 of the Essent ISU Speed Skating World Cup at the Thialf Ice Stadium December 9, 2007 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)
NAGANO, JAPAN - DECEMBER 13: Gold medalist Shani Davis of the USA poses for photographers during the award ceremony after the Men's 1000m Division A during the Essent ISU Speed Skating World Cup at the Nagano Olympic Memorial Arena (M-Wave) on December 13, 2008 in Nagano, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)
Shani Davis of the US competes for the overall gold of the ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships on January 18, 2009 in Moscow. Shani Davis won the men's world championships in sprint speed skating here on Sunday collecting 139.560 points after four distances at the event. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 14: Shani Davis of the U.S.A. celebrates after winning over 1500m during the Essent ISU speed skating World Cup at the Thialf Stadium on February 14, 2009 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. (Photo by Vladimir Rys/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Shani Davis USA during the speedscating World cup in Heerenveen Netherlands (Photo by sampics/Corbis via Getty Images)
US Shani Davis celebrates winning after the men's 1000m speedskating final at the Richmond Oval on February 17, 2010 during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. AFP PHOTO VINCENZO PINTO (Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images)
Silver medallist, US Shani Davis, competes in the Men's 1500m speedskating race at the Richmond Olympic Oval in Richmond outside Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (Photo credit should read TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
USA's silver medallist Shani Davis celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony of the men's 1500m speedskating final of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, on February 21, 2010 at BC Place in Vancouver. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BUREAU (Photo credit should read MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Shani Davis, US Olympic Gold Medal Winner backstage at the Dressed to Kilt Charity Event. The event was held a the M2 Lounge in New York on April 5, 2010. (Photo by Ira Black/Corbis via Getty Images)
Washington, DC - May, 19: Olympic hero Shani Davis as guests arrive for President Barack Obama, holding a State Dinner for Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Mrs. Margarita Zavala at the White House, on May, 19, 2010 in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
INZELL, GERMANY - MARCH 11: Shani Davis of USA celebrates after winning the 1000 m heats during Day 2 of the Essent ISU Speed Skating World Cup at the Max Aicher Arena on March 11, 2011 in Inzell, Germany. (Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images)
HARBIN, CHINA - DECEMBER 15: Shani Davis of USA celebrates with his gold medal during the award ceremony after winning the Division A Men's 1000m race during the day one of the Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating at Harbin Ice Training Base on December 15, 2012 in Harbin, China. (Photo by Hong Wu/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 06: Shani Davis of USA competes in the men's 1500m Division A race during day one of the Essent ISU World Cup Speed Skating on December 6, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS - FEBRUARY 14: Shani Davis of the USA celebrates winning the gold medal in the Mens 1000m race during day 3 of the ISU World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships held at Thialf Ice Arena on February 14, 2015 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
HEERENVEEN, NETHERLANDS - DECEMBER 11: Shani Davis of the USA competes in the 1000m Men race on Day Three of the Speed Skating ISU World Cup on December 11, 2016 in Heerenveen, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 03: Shani Davis waves to the crowd following the Men's 1000 meter event during the U.S. Speed Skating Long Track Olympic Trials at the Pettit National Ice Center on January 3, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Each of the eight federations — bobsled and skeleton, ski and snowboarding, figure skating, curling, biathlon, hockey, speedskating and luge — nominates an athlete for the role, and it came down to a 4-4 tie between Davis and Hamlin. When a decision couldn’t be made, a coin was tossed and Hamlin was awarded the honor.

Adding to the controversy is Davis’ use of #BlackHistoryMonth2018, which begs the question of how much Davis believes race was an issue for the black speed skater in the decision.

AP reached out to Davis and his agent, but did not get a response. They did reach his mother, who didn’t offer much insight.

“I know something about a coin toss, he told me last night,” she said Thursday. “I don’t know anything else. Is that all?”

USA Luge also declined to comment.

Davis is making his fifth Olympics appearance and is the owner of two gold and two silver medals. Hamlin is a four-time Olympian with a bronze from the Sochi games in 2014.

Maybe Team USA should add a ninth voter in the future so a flip of the coin doesn’t make such a big decision.

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