Team USA have acted “dishonourably” by tossing a coin to decide who would be their Winter Olympics flag bearer, a double gold medallist has claimed.
Speed skater Shani Davis appeared to criticise the decision on Twitter after luge slider Erin Hamlin was selected ahead of him for the role at Friday’s opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.
Davis, competing in his fifth Games, used the hashtag ‘Black History Month’.
He was the first black athlete to win individual Winters gold in 2006.
And he retained that 1000m long track title four years later, as well as winning 1500m silver in both Turin and Vancouver.
Hamlin – who will race in her fifth and final Games – and Davis were among eight nominees for the flag bearer role.
They were tied at four votes each after an athlete from each of the USA’s eight winter sports federations held a ballot on Wednesday.
It had already been agreed prior to the vote by the US Olympic Committee that a tie would be broken by a coin toss.
“We feel strongly toward Shani and they felt strongly for Erin,” US speed skater Joey Mantia said. “That’s just that.”
Speaking before Davis’ tweet, Hamlin said her family would be thrilled to watch her carry the flag.
“They’re really pumped,” she said. “We’ve grown up watching the Olympics and we’re always like, ‘Who’s going to be carrying the flag?’ And to actually be that person is insane.”
Hamlin’s team-mate Jayson Terdiman added that it is “one of the coolest things”.
He said: “Not just does Erin get to hold that flag, but USA Luge gets to hold that flag. It’s so cool. It’s a great honour for our small sport.”