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The 2018 Winter Olympics just started, but American speedskater Shani Davis has already injected controversy into the competition.
In what looked more like a temper tantrum than a legitimate complaint, Davis, who is black, took to Twitter this week to suggest the decision to use a coin toss to determine who would carry the American flag into the stadium for the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was somehow linked to the color of his skin.
WINTER OLYMPICS: This international games kicks off with controversy from Team USA. Speed skater Shani Davis will not march in the opening ceremony. ABC’S Diane Macedo Reports. pic.twitter.com/zsYyO8rbB3
— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) February 9, 2018
“[Team USA] dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022,” he tweeted, noting February is Black History Month.
The coin toss was used to break a 4-4 tie between Davis and luger Erin Hamlin, who ultimately carried the U.S. flag into the stadium.
Many social media users were quick to call out Davis for his unseemly pity party:
I bet you wouldn’t be talking if it went in your favor. Carrying the flag goes beyond wins and losses and it’s an honor to even be considered. You’re only proving the coin flipped to the correct side.
— Nick Cunningham, OLY (@BOBSLEDR) February 9, 2018
Rather than being remembered as a great athlete, I hope you enjoy your legacy as a petulant child. https://t.co/reMA4l8RJe
— Chet Cannon (@Chet_Cannon) February 9, 2018
Shani Davis is acting like a child. The olympics is about a TEAM representing your country, not you. Erin Hamlin is no less deserving than him. Not marching in the opening ceremony is childish
— Anna (@Nats48Fan) February 9, 2018
— Dan O'Donnell (@DanODonnellShow) February 10, 2018
You’re nothing but a big baby. pic.twitter.com/Z34HYV7snB
— Thomas J Edwards (@retiredLEO67) February 9, 2018
But there was one prominent figure — the Rev. Jesse Jackson — who hurried to Davis' defense:
The choice to represent our country as #flagbearer in the @Olympics should never be determined by the flip of a coin. The Committee should immediately institute a more appropriate system to make such a significant determination. @ShaniDavis pic.twitter.com/OmR7C9o1GM
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) February 9, 2018
Hamlin, for her part, said she was honored to have the opportunity to lead Team USA into Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony Friday night.
“Beyond grateful to be a part of this team and incredibly proud to have the privilege of leading every amazing [Team USA] athlete into that stadium tonight,” she wrote.
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