Finally Shani Welcomed As Sports Hero In Chicago

Updated: November 16, 2007





What a Difference

an Olympic Gold Medal

a World Championship

and a World Record

can make.

Shani Davis has finally received his Hero’s welcome in his home town Chicago. This past Weekend. He was feted by the Governor of Illinois, the Mayor of Chicago, Jesse Jackson and a host of celebrities and most of all thousands of Chicagoans.

Jackson compared Davis to Jackie Robinson, and while that is way over the top, still Shani is a singular figure in sports history in his own way as the first African American to ever win an individual Gold Medal at the Winter Olympics.

And that is just part of the Story.

In a sport where there are NO Black stars even competitive skaters and never have been Davis is right now the best speed skater in the World. After the Olympics in Torino Shani headed to Canada where in a show down with Big Mouth Chad Hedrick or is it Cry Baby Chad Hedrick, either way Shani took the Title All Around World Championship.

Shani Davis in Alberta, Canada, earlier in March, broke Hedrick’s world record in the 1500 meter, reclaiming that Record for himself, leaving Hedrick in the dust better ice in Canada, and repeating as World Champion.

Shani Davis is #1

in the World

by any Standard

Now with the Season over and no new races until the fall Shani Davis along with his mother was free to return to Chicago and the long overdue Hero’s Welcome. As expected his most important message was directed at the hundreds of young kids now far younger than him, in the audiences this past weekend. Shani a living example of the power of following your Dream no matter what the world thinks.

Davis told the kids as he always does he was laughed at even taunted as a young Black kid in Chicago he would constantly leave his friend and classmates to practice ice skating for endless hours when not even one of his companions did the same. And also as he always does Shani credits his mother most of all, far far more than anyone else for his determination and success.

Cherie Davis was at Shani’s side this weekend and recounting all those early cold mornings before school began that she would bundle him off to the ice skating rink or the track to condition himself. And remembering all the disdain they had to endure for years when a young African American arrived to compete against all those white kids.

And this past Weekend

in their home town


Both Shani and his Mother knew

it was all worth it and

there is still more to Come


Shani & Cherie Davis