A black speedskater blasted the U.S. Olympic team and invoked Black History Month after losing out on a chance to carry the American flag in the opening ceremony of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Thursday tweet from Shani Davis’ account said Team USA “dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022.”
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 pic.twitter.com/dsmTtNkhJs
— Shani Davis (@ShaniDavis) February 8, 2018
Luge veteran Erin Hamlin — who is white — was named the American flag bearer, the Associated Press reported.
More from the AP:
Hamlin and Davis were among eight nominees for the flag-bearer role, and athletes from each of the eight winter sports federations — bobsled and skeleton, ski and snowboarding, figure skating, curling, biathlon, hockey, speedskating and luge — represented those nominees in balloting that took place Wednesday night.
Eventually, the final vote was deadlocked at 4-4. Hamlin won a coin toss, which was the predetermined method of picking a winner if all else failed in the athlete-led process. The U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed the tie, and that voters knew in the event of a tie, the coin toss would take place.
USA Luge declined to comment on the tweet. Calls placed to Davis’ phone rang unanswered, and his agent Ian Baranski did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
“We feel strongly toward Shani, and they felt strongly for Erin,” U.S. speedskater Joey Mantia told the outlet. “That’s just that.”
Hamlin — who is retiring after the 2018 games — is a four-time Olympian, winner of a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Games, a two-time world champion and winner of 23 World Cup medals, the AP said.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 8, 2018
Davis’ resume includes appearances in five Winter Games, two gold medals and two silver medals, the AP said, adding that he’s the first black American to win an individual gold medal at a Winter Games.
The outlet noted that it couldn’t be determined if Davis himself posted the tweet or if someone else with access to his account may have posted it.
Davis’ mother, Cherie Davis, told the outlet she wasn’t aware of the tweet until an AP reporter spoke to her.
“I know something about a coin toss — he told me last night,” she told the outlet Thursday. “I don’t know anything else.”
Any other controversies from Davis?
Davis chose to not take part in the team pursuit at the 2006 Turin Olympics, which angered teammate Chad Hedrick, the AP said. At a news conference, Hedrick brought up the team pursuit and Davis stormed out of the room, the outlet reported.