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Speedskater Shani Davis endears himself to Japanese film crew

February 6, 2010 | 11:29 am

Shanidavis_125 Shani Davis gave a Japanese TV crew more than it could have asked for Saturday morning.

And then, with a big grin, the Olympic champion speedskater asked for something in return.

After finishing his first practice at the Olympic Oval in Richmond, Canada, where he will be favored to add at least one more gold medal to his resume, Davis greeted the crew from Tokyo Broadcasting System by pulling out a Japanese good luck charm his girlfriend had given him.

"It's a winning charm," Davis said. "My girlfriend wants me to win. Pretty cool, huh?"

At the end of the brief interview, Davis said, "I've got one more," and pulled out another Japanese item, Hi-Chew, a soft and chewy fruit candy that releases flavor until it dissolves in the mouth.

"I've got some Hi-Chew here," Davis said. "It's my favorite Japanese candy. I love Hi-Chew. Please, send me some Hi-Chew."

Davis, who arrived Friday, was pleased with the condition of the Olympic Oval, where he had won gold (1,500 meters) and bronze (1,000) at the World Single Distance Championships in March.

The sea-level facility is considerably slower than the Salt Lake City rink where Davis set world records at those distances last year.

"It's a lot better than what I remember," he said. "It's exciting."

-- Philip Hersh in Richmond

Photo: Shani Davis. Credit: Colin E. Braley / Associated Press