Heejae Park OCSA 10th Grade
With the 2018 Winter Olympics coming up on the rise in South Korea, flag bearers are to be decided for the Opening Ceremony, and there is a considerable amount of controversy circulating the U.S. Winter Olympics team, as its flag bearer was decided via a game based on chance, a coin toss.
According to the Washington Post, the flag bearer was decided among eight initial nominees, where one representative from the eight U.S. Winter Sports Federations was decided to cast a vote for the nominees. These votes came down to a tie between Erin Hamlin, a luger, and Shani Davis, a speedskater.
Both of these athletes are very respectable in their own rights, with Hamlin becoming the very first U.S. athlete to ever win a singles luge medal for the Olympics, securing a bronze medal, and Davis being the very first black athlete to ever win a gold medal in an Winter Olympics individual event.
With four votes going to Davis, and the other four going to Hamlin, the decision was made via a coin toss, which was a method pre-determined by the Olympics in the event that a vote ended in a tie.
When Hamlin was selected, she was most definitely happy with the end decision. However, this sentiment wasn’t shared by Davis, who found the idea of deciding with a coin toss to be dishonorable and not the right way to decide the flag bearer.
As said by The Guardian, Davis voiced his complaints via a tweet, criticizing the coin toss process and mildly suggesting that race could have had some form or role in the selection process.
This would not be the only time that Davis has had involvement with an Olympic controversy, as in the same year that he became the first black athlete to win a medal in an individual event for the Winter Olympics, he declined participation in the team pursuit event, openly showing antagonism between him and teammate Chad Hedrick.
However, despite the strong opinions he voices, he is well-respected and regarded as a confidant by his fellow competitors. For example, fellow speedskater Emery Lehman described Davis as “not selfish at all,” explaining how “He’ll go out of his way to help you out” and “having someone like him there is really good for the team.”
Despite his criticism, Hamlin will still be carrying the U.S. flag on the Opening Ceremony. The ceremony takes place at 6 A.M. ET, on the morning of February 9th. Coverage of the event will be aired on various news outlets.
<Heejae Park OCSA 10th Grade