Shani Davis, rap's unsung speedskating hero
In a televised interview following the men's 1,000 meter event, Davis was asked, "Shani, are you angry?" The skater seemed to be boiling, on edge, biting back bitterness.
I can't remember what his answer to that particular question was. But in a Games chock full of big, resonant moments, that's the one that stuck with me, the one that seemed to have significance and staying power, the one that I was sure would ultimately become symbolic.
Then, nothing. Zip. Zilch.
Shani who? Winter Olympics, whaaaaaaaaaa?
It's like Davis' success never happened -- or maybe notable rappers don't watch the winter Olympics.
In any event, big-time rap shrugged and continued to screw together and spit hot sixteens wherein rappers compared themselves to seasonal star players from the NBA, NFL, and MLB. And Tiger Woods. And NASCAR legends. (After the 2008 summer Olympics, Jamacian sprinter/egomaniac Usain Bolt and hulking freak-of-nature Michael Phelps joined this august consort.)
Big-time rap -- the refuge and celebrant of longshots that paid off -- couldn't be bothered to salute an athlete of unusual achievement, an athlete whose personal history of adversity and perseverance lent itself to event rap. Instead, big-time rap high-fived Barry Bonds.
When the 2010 Olympic winter games begin next month in Vancouver, Shani Davis will be back. This time, he'll have his eye on five gold medals; he's already had some choice words for a certain farcical right-wing pundit. (Shani, you may have been taking Mssr. Colbert too seriously.) Let's see whether or not rap generally -- or at least Lil Wayne, an admitted sports fanatic -- pays attention this time.