FanSided recently had an opportunity to sit down with Olympic Gold Medalists Charlie White and Meryl Davis. The duo discussed life after Sochi, their experiences so far on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and more.
The story of Olympic Ice Dancers Charlie White and Meryl Davis is truly a Cinderella story. The two of them had won Gold in just about every competition that they had ever entered professionally; however, there is one thing that had escaped them; an Olympic Gold Medal.
At the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, this lifelong dream would finally become a reality for them. Leading the competition after the short dance, Charlie and Meryl were the last two competitors to take the ice in the free dance.
It was then that something magical happened.
As soon as the music started, the two of them put on one of the most seamless looking performances that I had ever seen, gliding down the ice with such precision and making it look as if they were indeed one.
Here is a look at that spellbinding dance that ultimately won the duo their Gold Medal.
For them, winning Gold at the Olympics was unlike anything they could have imagined.
“Winning in Sochi was something that was kind of beyond what we had prepared for.” White said. “We prepared for, when we stepped out on the ice, to make the most of our program. I mean, this is how we approach every competition. It was always about the preparation, making sure that when we got to the competition we felt confident and that we did everything possible that we could to impress everyone, and most importantly ourselves. Seeing the score go up and recognizing that we had won a Gold Medal was kind of a stunning moment.”
He recalled the first thing Meryl said to him after their score was posted and the reality set in about what they had just accomplished.
“I think Meryl was like “I think we just won the Olympics.” It was special because we hadn’t thought about it. Because our reactions were just genuine and natural, and let me tell you, it’s really been a blur since then,” he said.
Aside from all the pageantry that comes along with winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics, one of the most memorable experiences for them is what happened when they came home.
“Coming home and getting recognized on the streets of New York by groups of businessmen coming up to us and saying that our routines touched them and that it was very emotional; that’s the kind of thing that really sticks out,” he said. “That’s not really the usual ice dancing crowd, and that’s what made it so special, I think. Getting to come home and celebrate with everyone that was a fan of the Olympics, that’s proud to be an American, and it’s part of what makes the Olympics so special, and we certainly enjoyed it in the fullest.”
Now that this year’s Olympics are in the books, the duo is on to the next challenge. Some of you may already be aware that the duo has been tearing it up on the dance floor on ABC’s dance competition Dancing With the Stars. It should come as no surprise that the two of them are leading the way on the show. Last week, which was Latin week, the pair occupied the top two spots on the leaderboard.
This is a different experience for the team. You see, Charlie White and Meryl Davis have been competing together as a team since they were 8 and 9 years old. This means that the two of them have been working together for the upside of seventeen years. Now, for the first time in almost two decades, the duo is competing against each other instead of as a team; however, the two of them don’t really see it that way.
“The whole experience is so different. We don’t really feel as if we’re competing against each other,” Davis said. “We’re certainly in this situation because of our partnership and because of the things we’ve experienced and achieved together, so I think we’re approaching this experience much the same way we approach everything else, together, supporting each other and being there for each other.”
As you can imagine, an event such as the Olympic Games is a much larger animal with its own set of pressures and after you have made it through something like that, sometimes everything else just comes a little bit easier.
“Coming out of the Olympic Games I think so many other situations comparatively seemed to be very pressure-free,” she continued. “Going into Sochi, I think we did a great job of putting ourselves into a place where we felt like we could compete, but realistically we felt a lot of pressure because it was something that we really wanted and had been working towards for so long. So, coming into Dancing with the Stars we’re just having so much fun and enjoying the experience that competing with one another is really the last thing on our mind.”
This is a sentiment that her longtime ice dancing partner shared with her.
“Exactly, I think as dancing competitors you really recognize that all you can do is be the best version of yourself, and I think that’s applicable to everything in life. It makes everything in life more enjoyable when you’re not worried about what other people are doing.” He said. “Just worry about what you can control. I think since winning at the Olympics that’s certainly been the name of the game for us; just living in the moment, enjoying everything, and certainly with Dancing with the Stars, just enjoying it. It’s a really special opportunity, and we want to make sure we can take advantage of it.”
Now, if you have not been following their progress on the show, you may not know that the two of them have been participating in much more than just the performances you see each week on Dancing with the Stars.
At the same time they have been appearing on the series, they have also been performing with the “Stars on Ice” tour, travelling around the country performing in front of audiences sometimes an additional 2-3 times a week.
This would beg the question, how can they possibly manage such a hectic schedule and still be ready when the cameras start rolling on Dancing with the Stars?
“We’re really lucky to be partners with AT&T. We’re on the road, we’ve pretty much been on the road since before Sochi, and AT&T really allows us to connect with our families and our friends who are just amazing supporters and are there for us when we’re feeling exhausted or overwhelmed by our schedules.” Davis replied. “We’re just lucky to have that ability to connect with the people who can really help us through some of the tougher days.”
Even through all the travel, the extra performances, and being away from their families for an extended period of time, they still feel privileged to have the opportunities that they do.
“I think overall we’re just having a blast. We are travelling throughout the week for the most part with Stars on Ice, and then we’re always in L.A. on Monday nights for Dancing with the Stars, but even though we’re a little bit tired, I think we realize how special these opportunities and experiences are that we’re just having a blast.”
Once again, Charlie shared his partner’s sentiment on the travel and how their partnership with AT&T has afforded not just them, but a number of Olympians, Paralympians, and other athletes stay connected.
“They do such an amazing job with all the Olympians and Paralympians. We feel very lucky to be able to partner with them, and they have supported us 100% all the way through.” He said.
Meryl has nothing but praise for their sponsors as well. She felt that they have really gone above and beyond to keep them connected with their support system, which has been so invaluable to them with their hectic schedules.
“It’s so great, I think in particular for Olympians and Paralympians, to be sponsored by AT&T. I think oftentimes, athletes are on the road, whether it’s training, away from our friends and family or at our home bases, or competing all around the world, it’s really important for us to stay connected to our support system, and AT&T really allows us to do that.” She said. “Whether we’re in Sochi or here in L.A., which has really been our home base for the last couple of months, it’s been really great for us and so comforting to be able to talk to our families back home.”
Now, as I mentioned before, competing in an event as enormous as the Olympics and competing in a competition like Dancing with the Stars is a completely different animal with their own set of pressures. Another difference is the amount of training involved.
While ice dancing is very comparable ballroom dancing, there are still quite a bit of differences between the two; however, the duo seems to be meeting every challenge with a positive attitude.
“We haven’t been in a place where we feel uncomfortable with movement in general on the ice in a very long time. We’ve certainly challenged ourselves with difficult lifts and difficult elements, and have been pushing the limits in terms of our skating skill, but when we’re on the ice we’re completely in our comfort zone. We’ve spent so much of our lives on the ice together that skating, to us, is really almost more comfortable than walking.” She said. “On the floor, whether we’re in ballroom shoes or just learning a different style of movement, I think it just isn’t natural to us at this point, so I think one of the biggest differences is being challenged by everything that we’re given at the same time.”
Before, we spoke to them about their busy schedules, and the night we spoke with them was no different.
The two of them were actually in an AT&T location in West Hollywood doing an appearance for their sponsors.
More than anything, they enjoyed the opportunity to interact with and get to know some of their fans.
“We’re at one of the store locations in West Hollywood, and it’s a great opportunity for us to meet with a lot of the fans of the Olympics, and now Dancing with the Stars. It’s a great moment for us to get to talk to them and bring them out to a special location, so we’re looking forward to it.” White said.
There is no denying that the two of them have been on a spellbinding journey together that has encompassed a good portion of their lives. From the looks of things, their lives won’t be slowing down anytime soon. If nothing else, this is good news for their fans that simply can’t wait to see what two of the most talented and down to earth Olympic athletes have in store for them next.
For now, you can watch both Charlie and Meryl compete on Dancing with the Stars every Monday night at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.