Olympic Profile: Meryl Davis and Charlie White

By KARINA MATOS

It looks almost effortless, gliding and moving to the music across the ice like snowflakes in the wind. But it is not that simple. Each little step, lift, glide, facial expression; all of this matters. All of this can only be accomplished with tremendous practice, and training. The muscles on both skaters are evident from countless hours of training and practice. However, only one couple skates as if the other is without a doubt a part of them; only one couple who, with the watching eyes of the whole world, a gold medal on the line, and their being the last to perform could deliver a nearly flawless performance; a performance so good that it not only wins America the gold but breaks the all time record. University of Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White are that ice dancing couple.

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Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Photo via MCT Campus.

Davis and White have skated together for seventeen years, meaning they’ve been together since they were ten. Both growing up together in Michigan, they have known each other since they were six. Davis told ESPN in an article published on Feb. 17 that back then, because she suffered with dyslexia, that “[She] couldn't process the notes fast enough to keep up with the pace of the song. Translating that to the ice, [she] found it much easier to let [her] body flow with the tempo of the music than [she] did reading music. [She] really learned to enjoy, worry-free, in terms of moving with the music. It's been a really beautiful part of [her] life.” Since the two were paired up in grade school, they mentioned in many interviews about how their coach threatened to put a sticker on White’s head because Davis was too shy to look into his eyes. White, in turn, wanted to play hockey, and found it awkward to have to hold a girl and dance with her.

Amidst practice, press interviews, talk shows, competitions and work out sessions, Davis and White are both students at the University of Michigan. They are both hoping to graduate at some point, but with their busy schedules they are not exactly sure when. White told People Magazine on Feb. 16 that “[They are] taking this year off, just because of the time [they] needed for Olympic season. [They have] always loved being able to skate and go to school but there are so many things that [they] really have to be able to take care of off the ice.” But it is not just school and their families that live in their hometown. Michigan is also where they train alongside their competition, the Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, because the two teams share a coach, Russian Marina Zoueva. Zoueva treats both teams equally and knows how to coach to both teams uniquely and with different styles. Both teams consider the other their “rival,” but a little friendly competition encourages both teams to try harder to succeed.

Before asking the question thats on the tip of everyone's tongue after watching Davis and White skate and hearing their story, here’s the answer: no, they are not dating, as hard as it is to believe. Obviously, they get asked that particular question a lot and it gets a little tiring for them to explain that they are just acting for the performance. The skate is not just about the technical aspects, its also about the creativity and emotion poured into the whole performance. Naturally, if they happen to be doing a love song, since it is pair skating, they have to act in love. White is actually dating Tanith Belbin, former figure skater and model. However the whole relationship is keep under wraps as best as possible, to help make the performances seem a little more real. White told Yahoo Sports that, “As an ice dancer, we take our on-ice relationships so seriously, and that's really the way we like to go about it. [Davis and I] are just presenting ourselves as a team, and all the rest of that [with Belbin] can wait for later.”

Ice Dancing free dance
Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Photo via MCT Campus.
Davis and White are a model ice dance team. Not only do they get along well, work hard, have supporting families, and are nearly perfectly in sync on the ice, but they also love what they do. That is most important of course; none of it would be possible without an immense love for the sport. They are amazing athletes and have a gold ice dancing medal from Sochi to prove it. One can only wonder what they are going to do next.

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