February 23, 2006

American Davis pulls out of 10,000m race

By Karolos Grohmann

TURIN (Reuters) - American speedskater Shani Davis has
withdrawn from the 10,000 meters race later this week, the last
men's event of the Turin Olympics, a U.S. team official said on

Davis, who has an ongoing feud with team mate Chad Hedrick
over his refusal to take part in the team pursuit, won the
1,000 meters gold medal earlier in the Games. He also won
silver in the 1,500.

"He has withdrawn and will be replaced by Charles Ryan
Leveille," a U.S. speedskating team spokesman told Reuters. He
said a statement by Davis on the reasons for his withdrawal
would be made available later in the day.

Leveille also skated in Davis's place in the team pursuit

The rivalry was sparked when Hedrick criticized Davis's
decision not to take part in the team race, all but putting
paid to the Texan's dream of equaling a record five gold-medal

His decision not to take part meant a slower skater took
his place, leaving the U.S. team out of medals contention.

Davis defended his move by saying he wanted to concentrate
on his individual races, which Hedrick felt did not meet the
Olympic ideal of trying the hardest for your country.