“Shani Davis was only two years old when he started to roller skate. He liked the sensation of speed so much that the skating rink monitors had to step in and slow him down. Later on, his parents wisely decided to introduce him to speed skating. This fan of video games quickly got the hang of it, so much so that he qualified for the national team, in both speed skating and short track speed skating – quite a rare occurrence!”
Shani Davis was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 13, 1982 to Cherie Davis and Reginald Shuck. “Shani” was chosen by his father, who sourced an African name dictionary for guidance in giving his son a name of purpose. Its origin is Swahili, the most popular African language in the world, and its meaning is “a marvel”.
Living in Hyde Park on the South Side, Shani was reared primarily by his mother, who worked for an attorney. He was a speed skating official whose son was an elite level speed skater. Cherie soon noticed the quickness of Shani, who had begun roller skating at the age of two. An example of this high speed occurred when rink guards often cautioned four-year old Shani when he roller-skated. Her employer suggested that she get Shani involved in speed skating. Researching this option, Cherie Davis enrolled her six-year old son to learn speed skating at the Robert Crown Center in Evanston.