War of words continues between Hedrick, Davis

Updated: February 19, 2006, 2:57 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

U.S. speedskater Chad Hedrick, whose rivalry with teammate Shani Davis on and off the ice has made headlines during the Torino Games, questioned Sunday whether they were actually on the same team.

The two Winter Olympic gold medalists are refusing to speak four days after Davis turned down an offer to take part in a team event and possibly cost his country another gold.

U.S. speedskater Chad Hedrick sounds off on teammate Shani Davis to ESPN.

Chad Hedrick, the 5,000-meter champion, again refused to congratulate Davis, who on Saturday won the 1,000 meters.

"I have been a great teammate to everybody. To help teammates have a chance at a medal, that's what the Olympics are all about," Hedrick said.

"Is he my teammate?" he replied, sarcastically, with a smile when asked what he thought of Davis. "OK, I guess he's my teammate. I respect him as an athlete, that's what our relationship boils down to and that's all I have to say about that. We have different ways of doing things. That's all I can say.

"It's a business-type relationship, like [Shani] said. I am trying to go out and skate fast, and I know he is going to do the same thing, and we will see who is the better man."

Hedrick criticized Davis following the latter's refusal to participate in the team pursuit, saying he turned down an offer to represent his country.

"If he was part of the team pursuit, we would have had a great chance to win the gold medal," Hedrick, the world record holder in the upcoming 1,500 and 10,000 meters, told ESPN. "Like Eric Heiden said, how many days do you need to prepare for your race?"

Davis, who convincingly beat Hedrick in the 1,000 meters, had said the team pursuit got in the way of his ultimate goal -- to become an Olympic gold medalist.

"This is not about yourself," said Hedrick, refusing again to congratulate Davis for his success. "It wasn't a good feeling for me after the 1,000 meters."

After the 1,000, Hedrick said he felt happy only for fellow American Joey Cheek, who won silver.

"My focus is not Shani Davis. It's not a big problem. Our relationship is business-like," Hedrick said.

Hedrick was bidding to win five gold medals and equal a 26-year-old record set by Heiden at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

But after winning the 5,000, his chances were dashed by the team's sixth-place finish in the pursuit.

Davis, the first African-American to win a Winter Olympics gold, has said he was informed only days before the team pursuit that he was on the team and was not prepared to change his plans preparing for his best race, the 1,000 meters.

They are due to race again in the 1,500 meters on Tuesday.

"He is a great competitor. I hold the world record for that distance," Hedrick reminded reporters, setting the stage for another Davis-Hedrick showdown on the ice and in the media.

Information from Reuters was used in this report.