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He was already acclaimed as one of the world's top speed skater, but Joey Cheek proved himself a wonderful champion in Turin.
Four years earlier, he had won a bronze medal in Salt Lake City in the 1,000m, a medal that brought him to global attention. It was the catalyst for the best years of his career, with bronze medals in the world single distance championships the following year.
He took his first podium in the world sprint championships in 2005 and then, the following season, became world champion.
And so Cheek arrived in Turin with plenty of people tipping him for success. They were not to be disappointed as he took a famous victory in the 500m. Cheek was the outstanding performer in the event, where he took gold after being the only athlete to dip under 35 seconds – a feat he did twice! After years of trying to force his way to the top of the sport, and now in his mid-20s, Cheek was finally acclaimed as a truly great skater.
He took a silver medal in the 1000m, too, finishing behind American team-mate Shani Davis. His American colleagues chose him to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony.