Shani Davis rips Team USA over flag bearer coin toss

Tiebreak used to select luge athlete Erin Hamlin

By DAKIN ANDONE, CNN
Headline Goes Here Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

(CNN) - The Winter Olympics has just started, and we already have our first controversy -- and it's over who carried the US flag in the opening ceremony.

On one side is Erin Hamlin, a world-renowned luger, two-time world champion and four-time Olympian.

On the other is Shani Davis -- a decorated speed skater and five-time Olympics qualifier.

The flag bearer is typically chosen in a vote of the eight US winter sport federations, which represent biathlon, bobsled and skeleton, curling, figure skating, hockey, luge, ski and snowboarding, and speed skating.

But this year, Hamlin and Davis tied 4-4.

Enter the coin toss, Davis said.

Hamlin was chosen, according to the US Olympic Committee.

And Davis was definitely not happy about it, venting in a tweet that the coin toss was "dishonorably" done.

"I am an American and when I won the 1000m in 2010 I became the first American to 2-peat in that event," Davis tweeted. "@TeamUSA dishonorably tossed a coin to decide its 2018 flag bearer. No problem. I can wait until 2022. #BlackHistoryMonth2018 #PyeongChang2018."

So, Davis planned to skip the Games' opening ceremony Friday.

"He was not planning to march in the first place, but he reconsidered when he was faced with the possibility of being the flagbearer," a spokesman for the US speed skating team told CNN.

"His race is in a few days and he is 100% focused on it," the spokesman added. "The timings for the ceremony interfere with his training program and that's why he's not going."

CNN has reached out to the US Olympic Committee for comment.

So, Friday morning, it was Hamlin who led the US team, proudly waving the flag.

"It is definitely a privilege and honor to be the one to lead the team and will be a very special moment," she said earlier.

Hamlin is the sixth woman in 23 games to carry the US flag, and the first since 2006.

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