Davis, White go for gold, face Canadian training mates

Published On: Feb 07 2014 08:26:16 PM EST
Updated On: Feb 07 2014 08:26:34 PM EST

In their last interviews before heading to Sochi, Russia, Meryl Davis and Charlie White talk about facing their biggest rivals -- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.  It's the same team they train with at the Arctic Edge of Canton.

The work is never done for Meryl Davis and Charlie White despite being undefeated for two years. 

In fact, that might be the reason they are still working so hard.

The ice dance team will tell anyone it's by working hard that they have been able to achieve everything they have done to this point.

There is one more goal on their "To Do" list: win an Olympic gold medal.

"I think that we are definitely among the favorites," Meryl said. "That is really attributable to the fact that we have been putting in solid work you know from one year to the next. We definitely didn't come here thinking now we have to work really hard because we are in this great position. We got here working our butts off every day, every year."

But being "the favorites" is not enough for these Detroit natives, they want to work for it and have for the past 17 years. The pair began skating together when Meryl was 9 and Charlie was 8.

This is not their first Olympic Games, they won the silver medal in ice dance in 2010.

"I think we're just in a better place in terms of experience," Charlie said. "Otherwise we've just as excited as we ever were. We're training just as hard as ever, in fact, probably harder than last, in 2010."

The hard work has paid off. Meryl and Charlie have been undefeated over the last two years.

In 2011 they became the first American ice dance team to win a World Championship, then did it again in 2013.   They are also six-time U.S. National Champions, something no ice dance team has ever done before.

As for adding the gold medal to their trophy case, Davis and White know they have put in the work to put themselves in contention.

"I think that we know that if we skate how we know we can, if we skate how we're preparing to, we're setting ourselves up really well to really fight for that gold medal," Davis said.

The biggest challengers to Davis and White winning the gold medal in ice dance are their training mates Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.   Virtue and Moir won the gold medal at the Vancouver Games.

"I think our biggest competitors heading into the Olympics are the reigning Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moire, the Canadian team that we train with,  and have had a pretty intense rivalry for the past, name a large amount of years," said White.  "Ten years," said Davis.

They have a rivalry, but the two teams are also friends.

Davis is quick to point out that it's not unusual for them to train together or share the same coach, Marina Zoueva.  In fact, she sees it as an advantageous relationship.

"Training so closely with Tessa and Scott I think is really advantageous for us. They're a really incredible team, and they have strengths that aren't necessarily the same as our strengths," said Davis.

"If you look at our material and Scott and Tessa's material it's very different," Davis said. "We're different as skaters, so I think she does a really great job of giving each team what it is that they need on the ice, so it's I think it's more rewarding than it is challenging."

At the Olympics, Davis and White will not be thinking about what Virtue and Moir are doing or any other ice dance team.

"When we're at any given competition, we're really focused on what we can do out on the ice," said White.

Davis and White's parents say it's their children's s passion, resilience, and work ethic that has gotten them to this point.

"They're both very competitive, like, just from the very beginning as small children," said Jacqui White, Charlie's mother.

"How many times they've been told, they haven't perfected something, or something's wrong, or they have to improve on something," Cheryl Davis, Meryl's mother said.

"And they don't get mad, they're just like alright, what do I have to do, I'll fix it," Jacqui added.

While they get many questions about winning the gold medal and what they might do after the Winter Games are over, Davis and White say they are focused solely on competing.

"We don't really give a lot of thought to what comes after our performance, whether it's winning a medal, what color medal, what our future holds," White said. "Right now we're so focused on what it is we can do to put ourselves in a position to make the judges think that we earned the gold medal that the rest is not on our minds at all."

Davis and White say they will decide after the Winter Olympics what to do next.  

They both attend the University of Michigan but have taken the year off to focus on this season and the Olympics.


Meryl Davis and Charlie White train alongside another American team, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, a brother-sister duo from Ann Arbor.

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