02/19/10 — A real role model: Shani Davis is a champ to emulate

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A real role model: Shani Davis is a champ to emulate

Forget the latest rapper, the toughest football player or the latest troubled basketball player, there is a new role model in town.

Speed skater Shani Davis is not flashy -- he does not crave media attention and does not hot dog for the cameras.

In fact, before his Olympic gold medal performance in the 1,000 meters, he would not talk to the media. After all, he was there to skate, not to do interviews.

Even in his victory, he was humble, almost wishing that the gold medal could come without the hoopla -- no bravado, no trash talk, no show boating. He was quite content to celebrate his victory with dignity and style.

Kind of a rare opportunity to see someone who understands just what is required of a champion, isn't it?

There are many role models in the Olympics -- young men and women who have dedicated their lives in pursuit of a sport that might bring them a Wheaties box cover, but likely will never make them rich.

They train for themselves and for their country -- and their hard work is rewarded just once every four years.

If we could teach more young men that discipline, dedication and desire to excel, who knows how many more would realize that their futures are in their hands -- and that dreams of the NBA and the NFL or a music contract are no substitute for an education and a career.

Shani Davis will not be the Olympian who gets the most interviews and attention.

But he is a role model whose story just might inspire a young person to reach for something more.

And that is a value much greater than a gold medal.

Published in Editorials on February 19, 2010 10:41 AM