Shani Davis was not expected to walk in the opening ceremony on Friday in the wake of his controversial tweet about missing out as the USA's team flag bearer.
Multiple people told USA TODAY Sports that as of Friday morning, Davis did not intend to participate in the ceremony in accordance with his original plans. Had he been named flag bearer, the people confirmed, he would have accepted the honor and taken part.
The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of Davis.
Davis became embroiled in one of the Winter Olympics’ first major talking points when a post from his Twitter account hit the internet on Thursday night. The message described as “dishonorable” the process by which luge athlete Erin Hamlin was picked to carry the flag.
Hamlin gained the selection at a meeting of team representatives from each U.S. winter sports body after she and Davis were tied at four votes each. A coin flip was then used to break the tie, per United States Olympic Committee rules.
Meanwhile, speculation continued to rumble as to whether it actually was Davis who wrote the tweet.
“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.”
Nathaniel Mills, a close friend of Davis and his former public relations officer and legal counsel, was stunned to see the message.
“That doesn’t sound like Shani,” Mills told USA TODAY Sports, in a text message. “I’d be surprised if he wrote it.”