- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2018

U.S. speedskater Shani Davis has injected race into the coin-toss decision to determine a flag-bearer at the 2018 Olympic Games.

Eight accomplished athletes across eight winter sports federations recently vied to become the individual leading the U.S. in the Parade of Nations on Friday. A coin toss may have broken a 4-4 tie to nominate singles luge medalist Erin Hamlin, but Mr. Davis continued the debate Thursday.

“I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event,” he tweeted. “Team USA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022. #BlackHistoryMonth2018.”

The message did not go over well with his intended audience.

“Really bad look dude,” replied on reader. “You’re not the only one with accomplishments, the coin flip was so that two athletes had a fair and balanced chance. I really hope this isn’t indicative of how Team USA plans on supporting each other over there.”

“I wonder if you would have called it ‘dishonorable’ if you had won the coin toss?” added another.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics

Fellow U.S. speedskater Joey Mantia, however, downplayed the brewing controversy.

“We feel strongly toward Shani and they felt strongly for Erin,” Mr. Mantia said, The Associated Press reported. “That’s just that.”

USA Luge declined to comment, while attempts to reach Mr. Davis and his agent Ian Baranski were not immediately successful, AP reported.

Ms. Hamlin, 31, called the opportunity at Pyeongchang 2018 a “big shock” and “an honor and privilege,” NBC News reported.

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• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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