|Birth Day:||August 13, 1982|
|Birth Place:||Chicago, United States|
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He attended Northern Michigan University.
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 becoming 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. His height has always made him unique among short trackers, who are much shorter. The extra height made it easier for Davis to race low to the ice. Davis would go on to win a bronze medal in the Team Relay at the 2005 World Short Track Championships in Beijing, China, shared by U.S. teammates Apolo Ohno, Rusty Smith and Alex Izykowski.
In December 2001, Davis traveled to Utah to compete for a spot on the 2002 Winter Olympics short track team. Teammates Apolo Ohno and Rusty Smith already had slots on the six-man team due to points earned from earlier races, and Ron Biondo was a lock for the third spot. In order for Davis to qualify, he would have to win the final race. Ohno and Smith were both participating, and it would be necessary for Davis to cross the finish line first. Ohno had been dominant in the meet up to this point because he won every race with ease. A win by Davis seemed to be a long shot.
On February 13, 2002, Sports Illustrated writer Brian Cazeneuve published an article stating that, after reviewing the race, "To this day, there is no concrete proof that any skaters violated the spirit of competition." Cazeneuve however, also published the comments of Outdoor Life Network commentator Todd Harris and 1998 Winter Olympian speed skater Eric Flaim, which were made during the broadcast of the race; both men agreed that Ohno and Smith had not skated to the best of their abilities.
Davis arrived in Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics. After the opening day ceremonies, he decided to leave the Games early to compete in the 2002 Junior Country March and Junior World Championships held in Italy, where he won the 1500m at both competitions. Davis became the only U.S. skater to ever make both short track and long track junior world teams three years in a row.
Davis wanted to be able to concentrate on both long track and short track. At the time, he was living in Marquette, Michigan, a town with no long track. In 2003, he decided to move to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Once there, he trained with 1998 short track gold medalist Derrick Campbell.
Davis made the jump from junior competition to men's speed skating in 2003. In February of that year, he earned the title of North American long track champion, which qualified him for the World Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden. During the competition, Davis was not yet adjusted to skating in the men's division, and his scores were much lower than usual; he finished 16th overall.
In January 2004, Davis became a North American champion for the second consecutive year. He finished in second place overall in the 2004 World Allround Long Track Championships in Hamar, Norway. In March, Davis won the 1500 m at the men's World Single Distance Championships in Seoul, finishing the race in 1:48.64 in March 2004.
Davis set three world records in 2005 – two of them in Salt Lake City. At the World Championship Qualifier on January 9, 2005, he broke the 1500 m world record, recording a time of 1:43.33. He also set the world record for best overall time in the history of the Qualifiers – 149.359. A month later, Davis would win the World Champion all-round, scoring 150.778 points. In November, Davis would break another world record at the third World Cup match in the fall of 2005, skating the 1000 m in 1:07.03. Davis did not participate at the Olympic Trials in Salt Lake City in December 2005 because his performances in the Fall World Cup events had already pre-qualified him for the Olympic Team in the 1000 m, 1500 m and 5000 m events.
The team pursuit event had its inception at the senior level during the 2004–05 season. Davis had never practiced or participated in the event, and U.S. Speedskating never expressed an interest in having Davis skate in the team pursuit event. In April 2005, U.S. Speedskating voted that it could appoint skaters to the Olympic Pursuit Team who had not otherwise made the team in an individual event. Having never skated the pursuit event, Davis submitted his declaration to U.S. Speed skating; he informed them of his intention to skate the 1000 m, 1500 m, and 5000 m. On December 31, 2005, U.S. Speed skating named the maximum allotted 5 member team (K. C. Boutiette, Chad Hedrick, Charles Leveille, Clay Mull and Derek Parra). The U.S coaches arrived in Turin and named Davis as a substitute to the pursuit team without his knowledge or consent. In the event of an injury after the team had entered the competition track, substitution would be permitted if an International Skating Union (ISU) Withdrawal Form had been presented to and accepted by the referee. No such injuries occurred, which meant that Davis was not even eligible to skate the team pursuit event at the Olympics.
The two skaters who had not earned spots in any individual event had been brought to Turin specifically to skate the team pursuit. Ironically, Davis said that he did not want to skate the pursuit event so that those skaters would have a chance to compete; this was a chance that Davis had been denied during the 2002 Games. "It was a difficult decision for me," Davis said. "Athletes came here just for [team] pursuit. I came here just for the 1000 meters, the 1500 meters, the 5000 meters." In an email sent by U.S Speedskating Executive Director on February 3, 2005, USS terminated Davis' athlete agreement effective February 4, 2005, discontinuing Davis' USS benefits and terminating USS rights to the use of Davis' name and image. Davis remained estranged from U.S. Speedskating.
Davis then defended his World Allround Championships title in Calgary in March 2006 with a world record allround score of 145.742. At the competition, Davis was paired with teammate Chad Hedrick in the 1500 meter race, and dramatically broke Hedrick's own world record with a time of 1:42.68, which Davis would later rebreak that year with a time of 1:42.32. Regarding his world allround title, Davis said, "To me, this is bigger than the Olympics. This medal is prestigious. Not only do you have to skate 500 meters, but you have to skate 10000, you have to skate a 1500 and a 5000 and you only have two days to do it."
In the 2006–07 season, Davis placed third at the World Sprint Championships held in Hamar in January 2007 and also won world titles in the 1000 m and 1500 m events at the World Single Distance Championships held in Salt Lake City in March 2007.
At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Davis competed in four long-track speed skating events: the 500, 1000, 1500 and 5000 meter races. All four of these events were held at the Richmond Olympic Oval, where Davis had held the track record in the 1000 and 1500 meter races, setting those records in 2009. Davis won the 1000-meter speed skating event, becoming the first man to win back-to-back 1000-meter Olympic speed skating gold medals and the only gold medal for speed skating from the United States at these games. Davis won in 1 minute and 8.94 seconds, finishing just 18/100ths of a second quicker than his rival, South Korea's Mo Tae-bum. Davis won a silver medal at the 1500 m distance, being defeated for the gold medal by Mark Tuitert of the Netherlands. Davis finished 12th in the 5000 meters and withdrew after a poor first race in the 500 meters.
On February 13, 2018, in the 1500-meter race, Davis finished 19th at 1:46.74. On February 23, 2018, in the 1000-meter race, Davis finished 7th at 1:08.78.
He announced his retirement from skating in November 2019.
Currently, Shani Davis is 38 years, 8 months and 3 days old. Shani Davis will celebrate 39th birthday on a Friday 13th of August 2021.
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