American Shani Davis won a gold medal earlier today in the 1000m speedskating event, becoming the first black person to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympic history. Debi Thomas won a bronze in figure skating in 1988, and Vonetta Flowers won a gold medal as a member of the women's bobsled team in 2002.
Joey Cheek, the guy who donated all of his prize money from an earlier gold medal win refugees Darfur, finished second, collecting a silver medal and $15,000 more to donate.
Torino Olympic officials were apparently so surprised that a black man won an event that they gave him a teddy bear instead of a gold medal. I hope that's something that they soon rectify, and they better let him keep the teddy bear, too.
Of course, the medal was not awarded without a little bit of drama. Another American skater, Chad Hedrick, was mad at Davis because Davis skipped out on an earlier relay event, leaving Hendrick, who was hoping to challenge Eric Heiden's record of five golds in one Olympics, stuck with a slower skater, and ultimately doomed to lose in the quarterfinals. Someone asked Hedrick afterwards if he was happy for Shani Davis, and he said, "I'm happy for Joey." Dick.
Davis, Cheek go 1-2 in 1000m [NBCOlympics.com]
U.S. Gold Medalist Donates Award to Darfur Refugees [NPR.com]