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Olympic Speedskater Shani Davis Is Furious Over How the U.S. Decided Who Would Carry the Flag

3 minute read

Choosing which world-class athlete would carry the American flag at the Opening Ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics did not come without controversy.

Two-time Olympic speedskating champion Shani Davis said Team USA “dishonorably” used a coin toss to determine its flag bearer for the Games this year. The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Wednesday that luger Erin Hamlin would carry the flag for Team USA at the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

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

He also included a hashtag noting that it was Black History Month.

The coin toss, according to the Associated Press, came after a 4-4 tie between Davis and Hamlin. Olympic athletes from the eight different sports federations — biathlon, bobsled and skeleton, curling, hockey, figure skating, ski and snowboarding, luge and speedskating — voted for their choice, resulting in the tie.

Representatives from the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Speedskating Team and the U.S. Luge team did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TIME.

Read more: 31 Athletes to Watch at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Davis and Hamlin are both renowned athletes in their sport and have both made history at the Winter Olympics before. Davis is not only the first black athlete to ever win a gold medal in an individual event at the Winter Olympics, but also the first man to win back-to-back gold medals in the 1000 meters. He also has won the silver medal for the 1500-meter race twice. His two back-to-back wins came in 2006 and 2010. One of the most decorated athletes in his sport, Davis he will be competing in his fifth Winter Olympics this year.

Davis was also the first black athlete to qualify for Team USA’s Olympic speedskating team. This year, two other black athletes are on the team. Maame Biney, who has said Davis is one of her inspirations, will compete for the short track speedskating team, and Erin Jackson, an experienced inline skater who only started training on the ice just months ago, will compete for the long-track speedskating team. The three athletes are some of the few black athletes competing for Team USA.

A four-time Olympian, Hamlin became the first American athlete to win a medal in the luge event in Winter Olympics history when she earned a bronze at the 2014 Games in Sochi. A two-time world champion, Hamlin also has 23 world cup medals.

“Working hard and earning success is one thing, being acknowledged as a great representative and member of Team USA by fellow athletes – many who I have been inspired by – is above and beyond anything I’ve experienced,” Hamlin said in the announcement of her role as flag bearer. “It is definitely a privilege and honor to be the one to lead the team and will be a very special moment.”

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