After 17 Years Together, Davis, White Win Gold


They had won practically everything else in their careers: six American Championships, five Grand Prix Championships, two World Championships, even an Olympic silver medal.

But until Monday, ice dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis were missing one vital piece of their stellar resume: an Olympic gold.

Davis and White won the ice dance event in Sochi, the first ever gold for the U.S. in that event. For the Michigan pair, it was the fulfillment of a dream whose seeds were sown in 1997.

That's when a shy figure skater met a hockey player looking for better posture.

"Meryl and I are very lucky to have the relationship we do both on and off the ice," said White, 27. "We started together at such a young age and we really relied on our parents to push us in the right direction. But it really wouldn't have happened without the chemistry and just respect that we've always had for one another."

The 17 years Davis, 26, and White have spent together on the ice are the longest of any U.S. ice dance pair. Their parents say, they're just a natural fit.

"They really like each other," said Jacqui White, Charlie's mom. "They know that they can trust each other and they're good teammates, they're good workmates, they're good friends. But their relationship allows for that space to be there and both of them to feel comfortable with it."

They have outside lives, their parents say, something Meryl's mother Cheryl says is key. Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White have outside lives too, but say they've grown close over the years as their kids competed.

"We work really well together," said Jacqui, "because when our kids were younger we had to pretty much do everything for them because they were so little."

Music, costumes, travel arrangements all fell to the parents, who say they're happy to contribute.

"We're there for them, but really we have a great team of coaches," said Cheryl. "We don't have to get involved. We trust them and the kids trust them and we trust they will be ready because of who they all are."

Trust is a primary component in the success of the skaters. Each skate starts with goals -- not necessarily a physical goal, but a performance goal.

"When we're practicing, we're heading into competition, we're really focused on skating the best we can," said Meryl. "I think we know that if we skate the best we can, we're setting ourselves up to be in a good position to fight for that medal."

Which is why Charlie White says a medal isn't necessarily the perfect outcome at the Olympic Games.

"Perfection is about being able to look your friends and family in the face and be able to tell them you did everything you possibly could for them and for the team and I think that definitely rings true in our relationship and what we're trying to do out on the ice," he said. "Perfection is something that you strive towards and in the right moments you can come close. It's always about self-improvement and I think that's what has helped our career in the long term."

When you ask their mothers for their favorite moments, their answers too aren't based on any particular result.

"What brings tears to my eyes is when I see them finish the program and they're hugging each other so tightly and I know what they're thinking, that, 'we did it,'" said Jacqui White. "All of the work we put into this we are feeling the reward of knowing we just skated a great skate and we feel the same thing and they can just hold onto that moment it brings tears to your eyes to know that pure joy at having that successful dream skate."

And who knows how many dream skates are still to come? Jacqui White and Cheryl Davis say the best may be on the way.

I don't know what the future will bring," said Jacqui White. "But as far as the road, it's been going up, up, up and this is the pinnacle so far."


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