WEST ALLIS, Wis. — Chad Hedrick edged rival Shani Davis in a 5,000-meter race on Saturday after Davis had beaten him earlier in the 500-meter event at the U.S. Long Track Speedskating National Championships at the Pettit National Ice Center.
Skating in the same pairing, Hedrick won the 5,000 in 6 minutes, 26.76 seconds, well off his Pettit Center record of 6:16.23 set on Oct. 26. Davis was second in 6:28.07.
Davis and Hedrick were also paired in the 500, which Davis won in 36.03. Hedrick was second in 36.61.
Slow, frosty ice kept the times down on the first day of the four-day meet, where skaters are chasing U.S. titles and spots on the U.S. World Cup team.
Nancy Swider-Peltz Jr. of Wheaton, Ill. won the women's 3,000 in 4:17.21. Three-time Olympian Catherine Raney-Norman of Salt Lake City was second in 4:19.25. Kelly Gunther of Waukesha, Wis., won the 500 in 40.89. Ashlee Barnett of Lino Lakes, Minn., was second in 41.55.
Hedrick and Davis again flashed a budding admiration for each other that is replacing the bitterness that erupted at the 2006 Turin Olympics.
Davis, who won gold and silver, declined the invitation to skate for the U.S. in the team pursuit at the games. Hedrick, who took home gold, silver and bronze, criticized Davis for that decision.
After Saturday's 5,000, Hedrick spoke with Davis during the cool-down laps about possibly training together.
"I would like to do that on a daily basis," Hedrick said. "I'd like for him to find a way to train with me and, for me, to find a way to train with him."
Separate training regimes and locations present major hurdles.
"If him and I want to go and dominate in the next Olympics, we've got to swallow our pride and start to work together," said Hedrick, who is from Spring, Texas, and trains in Utah."He's made a lot of steps to open the doors to me, and I think we're working together right now."
Davis was not convinced that they can train together.
"No way. He's too good," said Davis, a Chicagoan who trains in Milwaukee. "I'm no dummy. He is a competitor in distances that I compete in. As talented as he is, it's too dangerous for me to help anyone else that I have to compete against."
Davis said that if Hedrick skated strictly 5,000 and 10,000 races and he skated 1,500 and 1,000, then he would be all for it.
"But, he crosses into my realm and there are things I do naturally well that I have to keep my strength," Davis said. "I have to compete against him. It's too close."