An American speed skater skipped last Friday’s Opening Ceremony at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea–because he lost a “racist” coin toss.
Shani Davis, 35, faced off luger Erin Hamlin in the controversial coin toss to decide who would carry the U.S. flag and lead American athletes into the stadium. Both athletes had deadlocked in a 4-4 vote by fellow athletes to be the flag bearer, and it had been decided previously that a tie would come down to the coin toss.
Hamlin won the coin toss and was given the honor of carrying the flag.
But Davis refused to take his coin toss loss sitting down. He took to Twitter, denouncing the “dishonorable” process of the agreed-upon coin toss–and subtly alleging racism:
“I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event. @TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022. #BlackHistoryMonth2018 #PyeongChang2018,” Davis wrote.
The inclusion of “#BlackHistoryMonth2018” on his tweet raised eyebrows–seeming to suggest that Davis believed the coin toss was somehow racist.
Davis ultimately skipped the Opening Ceremony, with a team spokesman saying that Davis never intended to go unless he was selected to be flag bearer.
Davis has, thus far, refused to comment to reporters about whether or not he believed racism played a role in him losing the chance to be flag bearer.