Good Morning America-Chicago

Meryl Davis on Good Morning America LIVE 9-9-14. by stepsdance

William Beaumont visit

U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White visited kids at Royal Oak Beaumont on Wednesday. Photo by Aftab Borka 
When 10-year-old Talia Agee of Farmington Hills had her hospital room door knocked on Wednesday afternoon at Royal Oak Beaumont, she had unexpected visitors: first everU.S. Olympic Ice Dancing Gold Medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
“Her mom said she hadn’t really smiled today before we came in. So that certainly makes our day,” Davis said talking about how important this visit for the duo who were born at the same hospital. “Getting a chance to brighten someone’s day when they might be going through a tough time. I think that’s one of the coolest experiences you can have.”
Davis and While, who also appeared on Dancing With The Stars show, said they have been so focused on the Olympics and training that they never got an opportunity to do something like in a long time.
“It’s a good reminder how important health is and at the same time how important it is to support those who aren’t feeling their best,” said White.
The duo visited over a dozen random young people who were being treated at the hospital for different illnesses.
Max Joelson, 15, of Birmingham was so excited to meet them that he wanted to take a selfie with the celebrities.
“My friends are gonna think I am more sick than I actually am,” Joelson said after taking the picture.

Detroit tigers first pitch

How to Balance Being a Sports Parent

How to Balance Being a Sports Parent

Raising an exceptional athlete brings highs, lows and lots of windshield time. Four local moms share their stories and experiences.

How to Balance Being a Sports Parent
Headlines are filled with stories of crazy sports parents who push their kids to the breaking point and lose all perspective.
But for a parent whose child is dedicated to a sport – and maybe even darn good at it – how do you tow the line between supporting your child's athletic ability and not going overboard? How do you NOT become one of those nutjobs that takes all of the joy out of your child's passion? And how do you balance the demands of having a star athlete with the daily realities of everyday life?
Here, four moms behind high-level area athletes tell us about the demands of their child's athletics as well as the benefits reaped from the time, cost and commitment required for their child to excel. They share the good, the bad and the ugly about bringing up a champion.

Cheryl Davis

Hometown: West Bloomfield
Kids: Olympic ice dancing champion Meryl Davis and Clayton Davis
Sports Truism: "Believe in yourself. Have faith. Keep your head up."
Cheryl Davis of West Bloomfield thinks that her daughter Meryl is perhaps better known for her recent Dancing With the Stars Season 18 win than her ice dancing Olympic gold medal. Either way, she considers her daughter's recent accomplishments surreal – not to mention a long time coming. Meryl, 27, first hit the ice at age 3 on the lake on which her family lived.
"It would freeze over, and the whole family would go out and ice skate," Cheryl recalls. "She loved it. She loves the cold."
By 5 Meryl was taking private lessons, and by age 8 she was competing regularly as a single. "When she met Charlie (White) and made the switch to ice dancing, that's when she really got serious about skating," Cheryl recalls.
By the time she was in middle school, Meryl was practicing every day after school and on Saturday. It was a challenging schedule, but one that worked for her.
"She's a very active person," Cheryl notes. "She paces when she's not skating."
As Meryl and Charlie progressed in their sport, the travel demands increased to the point where she missed seven to 10 days of school each month during the season, which runs from October through March.
"She had to be very detail oriented," Cheryl says. "She asked a ton of questions and made up any assignments she missed."
Despite her demanding training and travel schedule, Meryl still maintained an active social life.
"We encouraged her to go to parties and to be involved in school activities like the talent show and to attend her prom," Cheryl says. "We knew the importance of her being part of a group."
To make sure her younger son Clayton didn't feel like he was living in his sister's shadow, Cheryl made extra efforts to spend time with him. And when mother and daughter traveled for competitions, Cheryl's husband Paul used their time away to plan some extra father-son time.
"Clayton and his dad had bonding time," she explains. "They ate out. They skied together. It was special time for them."
Upon reflection, Cheryl thinks that her son, while younger than Meryl by three years, is perhaps wiser than his famous sister.
"She is bright, but ice skaters live like moles," she says. "He has more everyday experience."
A new challenge for Cheryl will be helping her daughter acclimate to life after the Olympics.
"I think it's more difficult for Meryl now than for me," Cheryl admits. "I still have the life I've always had. Meryl has been so scheduled since she was little. It was all day, every day. Now what? She has so much energy."
Meryl will continue to support her daughter as she finishes her degree at the University of Michigan, where she is majoring in anthropology, and in whatever professional endeavors she next tackles. She's confident the lessons a life on the ice have afforded her will help her on her way.
"This sport has taught our kids that disappointment is part of the journey," Cheryl notes. "It has taught them to believe in themselves, to have faith and to never give up."

Jacqui White

Hometown: Bloomfield Hills
Kids: Olympic ice dancing champion Charlie White and Jason White; stepdaughters Lindsay, Stephanie and Emily
Sports Truism: "You learn as much from failure as from success."
For many high-performance athletes, the pinnacle of their endeavors is an Olympic gold medal. It's a feat to which few can lay claim. But for local ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, it was a dream realized when they skated near perfect performances at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and earned top honors.
Jacqui White of Bloomfield Hills is one of the moms behind the medal – the chauffeur, financier and confidante who knows well the glamorous and unglamorous aspects of raising a champion. Charlie first hit the ice at age 3 when Jacqui and her husband, Charlie Sr., were looking for a family activity to do with their son and his four older siblings.
"He really liked it," recalls Jacqui, who herself grew up ice skating on the canals of Belle Isle. "So I signed him up for a mom-and-tot ice skating class at the rink in Berkley. The sole goal of the class was for each child to learn how to get up by him or herself after falling down." When the rink closed for the summer, Charlie was still itching to hit the ice. Jacqui came upon a flier for the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Township.
"I discovered then that we had a world-renowned skating club in our area," she says.
She enrolled Charlie in a learn-to-skate program, and he never looked back. By age 8, Charlie was playing travel hockey and competing in ice dance with his partner Meryl.
"We had no idea when we started him in ice skating lessons that he would compete at nationals or the Olympics. We were just looking for something fun and recreational."
Unlike many competitive ice skaters, Charlie attended school full-time while training. When competitions required out-of-town travel, Jacqui and Charlie would meet with his teachers to discuss how he could keep up with his studies from the road. "Thank God he was born in the computer age. He was able to submit many papers online."
School was always the priority. "Meryl's parents were on the same page, thankfully," Jacqui notes. "We saw how many people lost perspective. We didn't want that to happen. We didn't want ice skating to take over."
Charlie always maintained an active social life in addition to skating, school and violin lessons. And at times, it did cause him stress.
"He and I had many conversations. I was checking for cracks in the egg that it might be too much. I'd remind him that it was his life. He got to call the shots. He knew he never had to do something to make us happy. I certainly had plenty of other work to do!"
When in 2006, fellow ice dancers Ben Agosto and Tanith Belbin competed at the Winter Olympics, Charlie and Meryl felt they had what it takes to shoot for that same goal.
"They thought, 'If they can do it, we can do it,'" White recalls. "Charlie and Meryl felt they were moving in on Ben and Tanith's skill level."
Still, the road to the Olympics is not easy, and disappointments were not uncommon.
"Thankfully Charlie is a really positive person," White says. "You almost have to be. It's a very unforgiving sport. You're as good as your last competition. You'll give up if you're too hard on yourself."
Instead, Jacqui encouraged Charlie to use disappointment as an opportunity to learn, and the lessons paid off. In February, Jacqui saw her son reach his lifelong goal.
"There are no words invented for the feeling of seeing your son win an Olympic medal," she says. "I can still see their faces when they finished their programs. That image will resonate in my heart for the rest of my life. It's a glorious feeling of happiness. They put their heart and soul into this."
The lessons ice skating has taught her son, family and herself are many.

Michigan football

Vote! 2014 Team Sportswoman of the Year

vote for Meryl!

The Women's Sports Foundation's Sportswoman of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards in the game and we need your help deciding the 2014 winners!
Read on to learn more about this year’s finalists or scroll to the bottom to place your vote.  Voting runs from August 25, 2014 to 11:59 p.m. EST on September 8, 2014. Don't miss your chance to let your voice be heard!

Winners will be announced at the 35th Annual Salute to Women in Sports Gala on October 15, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Tables and Tickets for the most exciting night in women's sports available here. 

Athletes were considered for the 2014 Sportswoman of the Year Award based on their athletic achievements between August 1, 2013, and July 31, 2014. The winners are determined by the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Awards Committee and the public. Please note only one vote per email address permitted. Read full bios of the 2014 Team  Sportswoman of the Year finalists here. 



Sun Valley Ice Show

Davis and White: grace on and off the ice

The excitement in and around the Sun Valley ice rinks was palpable this weekend because reigning Olympic Gold Medals ice dance pair, Meryl Davis and Charlie White were, as they say, in the house. But before performing two graceful, moving and perfect programs at Saturday night’s Sun Valley On Ice, the champions showed grace of another sort.

Sophie Hansen, 12, from Salt Lake City was treated first-hand to this grace. Currently on a wait list for a liver transplant, she and her family planned an end-of-summer special vacation to Sun Valley so Sophie could see the superstars perform. When representatives from The Primary Children’s Hospital of Salt Lake City reached out to let Sun Valley know Sophie was coming, Jennifer Uhrig, director of the Sun Valley Recreation Department, quickly set the wheels in motion. Hansen is a huge fan of skating and especially of White and Davis.

“We received a message from Primary Children’s Hospital that Sophie and her family had tickets to attend the ice show Saturday night and asked if there was any way for her to meet her idols,” said Uhrig. “Immediately, we wanted to make sure this would happen. Rink manager Scott Irvine suggested she attend the rehearsal Saturday and we planned on her being backstage during that time. We knew she would be able to get photos and autographs but we had no idea that it would turn out the way it did. Meryl and Charlie were so gracious and wonderful.”

The meet and greet turned into much more when Sophie was asked to lace up her skates and take to the ice with the gold medalists and Dancing With the Stars celebs. Sophie, who is a figure skater (and trains at the same rink as Sun Valley On Ice’s “Jumpin’ Joe” Sabovcik) was lifted overhead by Charlie and skated like a champion with all the pros. Charlie also presented her with a Sun Valley goody bag filled with swag. That night at the show, Sophie proudly wore her new Sun Valley sweatshirt and settled onto a new blanket laid on the bleachers. And Sophie and her family, as well as the rest of the huge crowd, were treated to a flawless, breathtaking performance that no one will forget.

“Sophie’s family said that she had an amazing time in Sun Valley,” said Primary Children’s Hospital spokesperson Sandra Orton. “Her mother said she couldn’t stop smiling and that the experience made her entire year.”
One more golden performance featuring Evan Lysacek is scheduled next weekend for the final Sun Valley On Ice of the season on Saturday night, August 30. The 2010 Olympic gold medalist, Evan holds ten major titles in the sport and is one of the most magnetic, athletic and graceful skaters ever to take to the ice. Evan has strong ties to Sun Valley and his shows beneath the stars are a hot ticket. You can still get yours today by clicking HERE.
Special thanks to Meryl Davis and Charlie White for sharing their special magic with the audience Saturday night and a very special audience of one on Saturday afternoon.