Sun, Feb 11, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Pyeongchang Olympics: Teammates chastise Davis, say coin got it right with Hamlin

AFP, PYEONGCHANG, South Korea

Shani Davis yesterday faced a backlash from his teammates after complaining about losing a coin toss to choose the US’ flag-bearer for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

The 35-year-old stayed away from the ceremony after losing the coin flip to US luger Erin Hamlin for the prestigious honor. The coin was used after representatives from the US’ eight winter sports federations deadlocked 4-4 in voting.

Davis is the most decorated US Olympian at Pyeongchang with 1,000m golds and 1,500m silvers in 2006 and 2010.

After losing the coin toss, Davis took to Twitter to show his unhappiness.

“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,” he said.

Davis yesterday made his Twitter page private, blocking new followers.

PROVING THE COIN RIGHT

His comments prompted a Twitter reply from US Olympic bobsledder Nick Cunningham, who said the flag-bearer role has often not been tied to Olympic success.

“I bet you wouldn’t be talking if it went in your favor,” Cunningham said. “Carrying the flag goes beyond wins and losses and it’s an honor to even be considered.”

“You’re only proving the coin flipped to the correct side,” he added.

Davis had not intended to attend the opening ceremony, but would have changed his plans had he been chosen to carry the flag. Instead, he stayed away to better prepare for competition in the 500m, 1,000m and the 1,500m, his opening race on Tuesday.

Freestyle ski half-piper David Wise joined the backlash against Davis.

“He or She who bears the flag for @Team USA should conduct themselves with both honor and HUMILITY,” Wise said on Twitter. “A true Champion would walk by their teammate proudly. Seems to me the dishonorable coin made the right choice.”

“As far as 2022 is concerned... you won’t receive my vote,” he added.

FLAWED SYSTEM?

Davis found support from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who called upon the US Olympic Committee to change the flag-bearer selection process.

“The choice to represent our country as #flagbearer in the @Olympics should never be determined by the flip of a coin,” Jackson said on Twitter. “The Committee should immediately institute a more appropriate system to make such a significant determination.”

Committee spokesman Mark Jones said the selection procedures, including the coin toss tiebreaker, are known well in advance, adding: “The Team USA flag-bearer is selected using a detailed selection procedure that is fully driven by athletes.”

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