Shani Davis speaks out on Opening Ceremony drama: 'I'm over it'

Shani Davis said he’s “over” not being selected as the flag bearer for the United States and that skipping the Opening Ceremony may benefit him in the long run.

“It happened for the better, I probably needed the rest anyway,” Davis told Dutch newspaper Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (via Nick Zaccardi). “But you know, once every four years, my fifth Olympics, I thought it would be really special to hold the flag. I guess the USOC and other people thought differently.”

It was Davis’ first public comment since the American speedskating star tweeted criticism of the USOC for allowing a coin flip to decide whether he or luger Erin Hamlin led the American team into the stadium.

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)

Davis attracted considerable criticism himself from teammates and fans over the comments, particularly because his inclusion of the hashtag #BlackHistoryMonth2018 seemingly implied the decision was a racial one.

Davis has since made his Twitter account private and skipped the Opening Ceremony, though his reps said that was always the plan for the five-time Olympian unless he was chosen to carry the flag.

An eight-member vote among the USOC’s winter sports commissions was split 4-4 between Davis, a four-time medalist and speedskating pioneer and Hamlin, a four-time Olympian and the first American to ever medal in luge. A coin toss was held to break the tie and Hamlin won.

Davis took to Twitter to air his displeasure:

“I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event. @TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022. #BlackHistoryMonth2018 #PyeongChang2018

After missing the Opening Ceremony, Davis tweeted again, this time in more general terms.

”It has been such an honor to have represented the greatest, most diverse country in the world at the last five Winter Games during the same month as #blackhistorymonth #goTeamUSA Watch ‘Origins of Black History Month,” he wrote.

Davis, 35, is scheduled to race in the 1,500-meter final on Tuesday. He owns two Olympic silver medals in the event, having placed second at 2006 Turin and 2010 Vancouver.

The 1,000-meter event is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 23. Davis is the world record holder in the event and won gold in 2006 and 2010.

Davis did not medal in 2014 as the entire American team went home empty-handed and blaming the design of their suits. Davis told the Dutch newspaper that he will avoid that problem by designing his own suit for these Olympics.

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