Monday, February 17, 2014

A Culmination: Meryl Davis & Charlie White

History occurred at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi on Monday, as skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White took Gold in ice dancing, the first non-singles Gold for the USA in figure skating history. They topped their rivals, Canada's Tesse Virtue and Scott Moir, setting world records in their scores.

For Davis and White, this has been a long journey that started in their childhood. Both grew up in Michigan, and were teamed together in 1997, and started their rise in the ranks from novice all the way to Olympic champions. All in all, Davis/White have won 6 National Championships, 5 Grand Prix Championships, 2 World Championships, and 2 Olympic Medals (silver '10 Vancouver, gold in '14 Sochi). They've been undefeated in the past two seasons, an unprecedented feat not just for them, but for any U.S ice dancing pair. An equivalent would be a college football team going undefeated for 2 season

Before Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto came onto the scene, winning their first national championship in 2004, ice dancing had gone somewhat unnoticed in the U.S. While Davis and White have taken it to another level, it was Belbin and Agosto that helped to pave the way and begin to put American ice dancing onto the map, taking silver at '06 Torino.

Now however, the U.S ice dancing team is on the rise, with Madison Chock and Evan Bates, along with Alex and Maia Shibutani vying to see who will take over that mantra as the next top American ice dancing pair. Based on their Olympic performance (Chock/Bates 9th, Shibutani siblings 10th), it should be a fought after battle. It really is hard to imagine. If you went up to a figure skating fan as recent as 10-15yrs ago, they probably never would have believed that the U.S would have 3 top 10 finishes in the Olympics. But thus is the case.

It's unknown as of right now whether Davis and White will compete at the 2014 World Championships, or if we'll see them perform competitively again. Either way, they have really taken ice dancing onto a whole other level, with their quickness and crispness on the ice. Whatever is next in their perspective futures, I don't think its that much of a reach to compare, or put them in the same sentence as Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (Great Britain, '84 Sarajevo Olympic Champions, 4 time World Champions, arguably the top ice dancing pair in history).

(2014 National Championship Short Dance/Free Dance)

 If Davis and White do call it a career, what a career it has been. (a good glimpse at the history of us ice dancing by USA Today's Christine Brennan)

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