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Sat, 12.22.2001

The First Black Olympic Speed-Skater Qualifies

Shani Davis celebrates

On this date in 2001, Shani Davis became the first Black to qualify for the United States Olympic speed-skating team.

Davis, a former roller skater from Chicago, beat his close friend and world cup champion, Apolo Ohno, in the 1,000-meter short-track final held in Kearns, Utah, qualifying for the 2002 Salt Lake Games.

Davis (then 19 years old) needed the 987 points that went with first place in order to finish sixth, knocking 1998 Olympian Tommy O’Hare off the team. O’Hare stormed out of the Olympic Oval without talking to reporters.

Reference:

Britannica.com

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