He's a gold-medal enigma and perhaps the sole reason to watch long-track speedskating, the dullest spectator sport on earth unless you are sitting with the inexplicably rabid Dutch skating fans. In Torino, Davis, a rare athlete from the inner city who found a Winter Olympic sport, won gold in the 1,000-m race and silver in the 1,500 m in 2006. But his off-the-ice surliness and a feud with fellow American Chad Hedrick over Davis' refusal to skate in a team event clouded his accomplishments. Davis, 27, now holds the world record in both the 1,000 and 1,500 and will skate four individual events in Vancouver. As usual, Dutch stars like Sven Kramer will stand in his way, cheered on by orange-clad fans who treat skating against the clock as if it were the Super Bowl and World Cup final combined.
Will Davis be a little less grumpy this time around? Well, it looks as if he and Hedrick have made peace. But in December, Davis bizarrely called comedian Stephen Colbert a "jerk." This, after Colbert stepped in to help underwrite the U.S. team after its main sponsor, Dutch bank DSB, went under. Perhaps a gold-medal romp will cheer him up.
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