First African-American Olympic Speedskater
Shani Davis was born on Friday, August 13, 1982, in Chicago, Illinois. Raised by his mother, on the south side, he started roller-skating at local rinks at age two. Shani joined the Evanston Speedskating Club at age six and within two months started competing locally. By age 8, he was winning regional competitions.
Davis earned spots on both the long track and short track teams at the 1999 junior world championship, simultaneously making the national team. In 2000, he made history by become the first U.S. skater to make the long and short track teams at the Junior World Teams, a feat he would accomplish again in 2001 and 2002.
Davis made the jump from junior competition to men's speed skating in 2003. He became the North American long track champion in February 2003, qualifying him for the World Championship in Goteborg. He went on to win various titles in major events such as the World Cup, the World Around Championships and the World Sprint.
Now 26, Shani has traveled all over the world competing in Canada, Hungary, Italy, Finland, Poland, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Korea, China and Japan, going into the 21st year of his speed skating career.