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What Motivates Shani Davis?
Gold medalist in 1000m speed skating talks to Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

Shani Davis
Shani Davis of the U.S. poses with his gold medal at the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy on February 19, 2006.

Check out the rest of our skating stories:

  • Short Track Skating

  • Svetlana Zhurova of Russia wins the gold in the women's 500 m speed skating event.

  • Check out our interview with Jennifer Rodriguez.

  • Keep up with the latest news in men's speed skating.

  • Read our interview with Joey Cheek.

  • See what Chad Hedrick had to say to our student reporters.

  • Learn more about skating.
    (Photo: Chris Helgren/Reuters)
  • Kid Reporters Anne Leitheiser and Mackenzie Korbus sat down with Shani Davis last October in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the the U.S. speed skating team trains in preparation for the Olympics. Here's what he had to say.

    Q: What makes you an Olympic athlete?
    Shani: I would guess hard work and lots of training everyday—about four to five hours a day training. It's a lot of determination and a lot of will power to stay away from some of the more tempting things out there, such as not training, sleeping in, eating all kinds of junk food and candy, and things like that.

    Q: What do you like the most and the least about your sport?
    Shani: The thing I like most about my sport is that we can go very fast. We can go almost as fast as a slower moped or someone on a bike. The thing I don't like about my sport is that you can falter and hurt yourself really badly—that's not very fun.

    Q: Who inspired you to speed skate?
    Shani: My mom got me started in speed skating, and I'm very thankful that she did. She took a lot of time out of her busy working day to deal with me speed skating. She made sure that I got to and from practice and had healthy, nutritious meals, and she kept me very motivated every day just to skate.

    Q: What advice would you give someone who wanted to start speed skating?
    Shani: First, do your research, because there are not very many speed skating programs in America. Speed skating is very remote and not as local as a lot of people think. I'd say do your homework, and if it's something that parents are interested in putting their kids in, then go for it.

    Q: Is there anything you want to improve on?
    Shani: I would say just my consistency with my motivation. It's hard to stay motivated 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's hard to just want to wake up and skate sometimes, because there are so many things that can get in your way—like bad equipment or you're a little tired from a hard day of training. But I just try to think past that stuff and about all the people who support me and got me to where I am now. I'm doing this not only for myself, but for them as well, so that's how I try to stay motivated.

    Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.