Vancouver (AFP) -
American speed skater Chad Hedrick said on Sunday his high-profile, bitter feud with teammate Shani Davis is history, insisting that fatherhood has changed his perceptions on sport and life.
The 32-year-old Texan, gold medallist in the 5000m at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, is taking part in his last Games, but the events of Italy four years ago are still following him.
Davis, who became the first black Winter Olympic individual event champion by capturing 1,000m gold, and Hedrick had a spectacular fall-out in Torino when the Texan suggested his teammate should also have raced in the team pursuit.
"It's not Chad Hedrick against the world anymore," Hedrick told reporters on Sunday at a US team speed-skating presentation from which Davis was missing.
"I am 32 now and I am racing against guys who are 19, 20 years old. It's different to what happened in 2006. I have a family now and I have made big strides in my life."
Hedrick believes the birth of daughter Hadley has played a significant part in his personal transformation.
"It's not harder to train and my morals are different in life. My family forces me to push and to strive in life and my skating is coming back.
"Over the last four years I have grown as a person. People always learn to grow and I have changed. I try to learn and become a better-rounded person."
Hedrick said he is looking forward to competing against Davis again.
In Torino in 2006, Davis took gold in the 1000m race, while Hedrick finished sixth. In the 1500m, Davis won silver, while Hedrick won the bronze.
"Shani is one of the best skaters, but the chance to compete against him will be great. I'm sure we will give a lot of people some heartaches out there," said Hedrick, who suggested that the duo's rivalry may have been an obstacle in the 1500m.
"I think we both feel it was the race that got away."