Shani Davis: Showing no signs of slowing down

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 30, 2013 at 3:13 am •  Published: December 30, 2013

KEARNS, Utah (AP) — Shani Davis has all these youngsters nipping at his clapskates.

It just makes him want to go faster.

Davis will have a shot to make history at the Sochi Olympics after capturing another title in one of his signature events, edging Brian Hansen by a hundredth of a second in the 1,000 meters at the U.S. speedskating trials Sunday.

Davis won gold in that race at the last two Olympics.

No male skater has ever won the same event at three straight Winter Games.

"Any time I step out on the ice and I put my hood on, I have something to prove," said Davis, who at 31 is preparing for what will likely be his final Olympics. "I've been doing it for 25 years. I just love being the position I'm in now. Years ago, I never would've thought I would be as good as I am now. I'm just so thankful that I'm here."

Davis has locked up at least two events in Sochi, also claiming a spot in the 500, and is favored in the still-to-come 1,500, in which he won silver medals at the last two Olympics. In addition, there's a chance he'll take part in the team pursuit, a race he passed on at previous Olympics because he didn't want to affect preparations for his individual events.

Monday is an off day at the trials. The competition resumes the following day at the Utah Olympic Oval with the 1,500s, before wrapping up Wednesday with the women's 5,000 and men's 10,000.

After gliding around patiently on the backstretch, hands clasped behind his back during a two-minute television commercial break that delayed the start of the next-to-last pairing, Davis powered around the final turn for a time of 1 minute, 7.52 seconds.

The 23-year-old Hansen came up just short in the final group, crossing the line in 1:07.53.

"I'm the older brother to all these young guys," Davis said. "I'm just trying to keep them at bay."

Hansen respects what Davis means to the sport, but he's eager to make his mark in Sochi.

"It's exciting for me," Hansen said. "I'm happy for Shani that he's going for such a great achievement. At the same time, I'm hoping I can put down my best race come Sochi. That's the nature of sport."

Davis relishes the competition from a teammate.

"It's only going to make us stronger," he said. "They're pushing me. I'm pushing them. We're all striving to be the best we can be."

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