New sponsor, new website, same old speed have Davis on track for Olympics

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(Shani Davis sporting a new sponsor’s logo as he skates in the World Cup at Salt Lake City last weekend. AP / Colin E. Braley)

Chicago’s Shani Davis heads into the 2010 Olympics with everything in place to have an excellent shot at three gold medals in long track speedskating. Davis utterly dominated the fall World Cup circuit in the 1,000 meters (four wins in four events) and 1,500 (four wins, one second and a world record in five races). He won gold (1,000) and silver (1,500) at those distances in the 2006 Olympics.

After last weekend’s World Cup event in Salt Lake City, where he broke his own world record in the 1,500 and nearly broke his own world record in the 1,000, Davis also reaffirmed his intention to skate team pursuit at the Vancouver Games. A trio of Davis, Chad Hedrick and Trevor Marsicano would be almost certain medalists.

Davis also has made the Olympic team in the 500 and 5,000 meters but he said in Salt Lake the 1,000 and 1,500 ‘take my priority ... I’m really excited for those races, as well as the team pursuit. Those three.’'


And the day he surpassed the 1,500 mark, there was an announcement on Davis’ new website ( that a Dutch company BKB, had become one of his sponsors. (The logo appears on the photo -- above -- from the Salt Lake meet).

BKB, according to the announcement, ‘develops campaigns for government, businesses and NGOs and advises on anything from business communication and internal change processes to image management.’' This is the first time BKB has sponsored an athlete or sporting activity.

The announcement also says:

‘Davis is an extremely committed and talented sportsman, a unique and powerful personality in the world of speed skating,’' says BKB director Alex Klusman. BKB feels strongly connected to Davis’ unconventional style both on and off the track. ‘Shani follows his own unique path, he is authentic and progressive, and an inspiring example to us all,’ Klusman adds.

Actemium, the other personal sponsor with a logo on Davis’ skin suit, is a French company that works with European industry to build, improve or optimize production, according to its website.

The World Cup circuit resumes after the Olympics, when athletes can’t advertise personal sponsors on their uniforms, and the logo that counts is USA.

-- Philip Hersh