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Shani Davis became the first Black athlete to win a gold medal for an individual event at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. The Chicago native was born August 13, 1982.

As a toddler on Chicago’s South Side, Shani Earl Davis discovered the thrill on wheels after his mother took him roller skating. Given his need for speed, Davis’ mother worked some connections and began entering her son into the elite world of speed skating by age six. Shortly after, Davis started competing regionally, becoming one of the top speed skaters in the United States.

On February 18, 2006, Davis took home gold in the 1,000-meter event. Two days later, he captured the silver in the 1,500-event. Davis has held world records in both events and currently still owns the American record for the 1,500-event.

With 58 career individual victories, Davis remains one of the sport’s elite skaters and is still competing. He is also a mentor and youth advocate along with several public speaking engagements.

PHOTO: AP

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