This Day In History: February 18

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On February 18, 2006, Shani Davis becomes the first Black athlete to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympics history, capturing the men's 1,000-meter speedskating race. American Joey Cheek wins the silver medal at the event at the Games in Turin, Italy.

Davis grew up on Chicago’s South Side and began skating—on wheels—at the roller rink. With his love of fast speeds, Davis started taking speedskating lessons and became skilled at the sport. Davis went on to win five National Age Group Championships between 1995 and 2003 and a North American Championship in 1999. Davis was 23 when he won gold with a time of 1 minute, 8.89 seconds at the 2006 Olympics. The Chicago native also earned a silver medal in the 1,500-meter speedskating race.

Four years later, at the Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, Davis repeated as Olympic champion in the 1,000-meter speedskating race and earned a silver medal in the 1,500-meter race.

Davis retired from competing in November of 2019.