Meryl Davis Shares Her Love of Ice Dancing

Gold medalist ice dancer Meryl Davis visits FOX8

An Ice Dancer Keeps Her Skates Close and Packs for the Cold

An Ice Dancer Keeps Her Skates Close and Packs for the ColdLip Balm, Tissues, Cough Drops and Bejeweled Dresses

No matter where Meryl Davis is heading for her next gig, she knows the job site will be cold and windy. Such is the life of a figure skater.
Ms. Davis and her skating partner, Charlie White, became the first Americans to winOlympic gold in ice dancing at the 2014 Sochi Games. Just a few months later, she shed her skates to compete in the ABC show “Dancing With the Stars,” and won. Now she’s part of the skating show Stars on Ice, which kicked off a 10-city tour on Dec. 30 in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Between competitions and performances, the 28-year-old travels several times a month from her home in suburban Detroit.
“I feel like I’m always packing or unpacking,” she says.
Her carry-on is a purple Tumi rolling hard suitcase. Her ice skates, made by Harlick, are the most important item. Sometimes TSA agents won’t let the skates through security—they are sharpened steel blades, after all—and she’ll have to check them.
“That’s the most nerve-racking part of traveling, wondering if your skates will arrive,” Ms. Davis says. “Sometimes you’ll land in Moscow and your skates are still in Germany.”
Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis uses a purple Tumi hard suitcase to travel several times a month, and carries a Vera Bradley backpack filled with her essentials. Top middle, she uses a Vera Bradley cosmetics carrier to keep toiletries such as hair elastics, mouthwash and hand cream. She also packs extra shoelaces for her skates and hockey tape to keep her laces in place. Top right, her Olympic-issue Ralph Lauren winter jacket. Bottom left, Mukluk boots she puts on after her ice dancing shows to warm her feet. Ms. Davis likes to eat plain food such as granola or a bagel when she’s on the road to avoid stomach troubles. Bottom right, her ice-dancing costumes are often adorned with sequins, stones or feathers. PHOTO: PETER BAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A skate towel to dry the blades, skate guards to protect them and transparent hockey tape to secure her laces round out her equipment.

Equally important are the tools she uses to ward off the ill effects of life on ice: Blistex lip protector, tissues, face moisturizer and Ricola cough drops.
Skaters always have chapped lips and sore throats, she says. They skate and spin fast enough that it is actually windy. They constantly have runny noses, too. Ms. Davis and her partner are sponsored by Puffs tissues. “Charlie and I go through a case a week,” she says.
But, Ms. Davis likes the cold. She started skating at age 5. “Even when I was younger, I loved being a little bit chilly,” she says. “Anything over 70 degrees is not OK for me. I just melt.”
On the road, she typically skates for about four hours a day.
Meryl Davis, at her practice rink in Canton, Mich., won a gold medal for ice dancing in the 2014 Sochi games.  ENLARGE
Meryl Davis, at her practice rink in Canton, Mich., won a gold medal for ice dancing in the 2014 Sochi games. PHOTO: PETER BAKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
She wears North Face gloves in the rink year-round and brings her Olympic-issue Ralph Lauren winter jacket and fleece. For skating practice, she packs Lululemon yoga clothing—a different outfit for each day. Unlike other athletes who can work out in the privacy of a gym, figure skaters usually rehearse in front of a crowd.
Then, there are the costumes. She usually brings four skating dresses, many of which she designed with her mother, Cheryl. They are typically handmade of sheer, stretchy fabrics and adorned with sequins, stones or feathers. They can cost between $1,000 and $6,000. She’s always searching for new design ideas, and is an avid Instagram user.
Most skaters cover their bare legs with sheer pantyhose. Ms. Davis packs half a dozen pairs of Hanes. Each lasts for just one performance. She buys them in bulk, 120 pairs to a box.
Not many sports involve makeup, but figure skating demands it. Her Vera Bradleycosmetics carrier goes everywhere. Dark red lipstick is her signature. Her color of the moment is Cabaret Blend, by Milani. She shies away from cakey foundation, instead using tinted moisturizer by Kimiko Beauty.
Ms. Davis enjoys the glamour of performing, but her favorite travel item is for after the show: a pair of fur-lined Mukluk boots. “As a figure skater, your feet are always freezing, and there’s nothing like slipping into a cozy pair of winter boots,” she says. “Even if it’s 75 degrees outside, in the rink, it’s winter.”

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Meryl Davis: A Stress-Free Holiday Season

With my brother Clay
It’s Christmas Eve and traditions endure for the Davis and White families in Michigan. Faces and decorations are the same as last year, Christmas trees are in the same, familiar corners of our parents’ living rooms, and family recipes have been prepared once again. Still, there’s a different feeling surrounding this holiday season. Along with the rest of the Team USA winter Olympians headed to Sochi shortly thereafter, Charlie and I were deep in preparation mode last Christmas: sleep, eat, train, repeat.
Certainly, 2014 has been a year to be grateful for. Post-Sochi, Charlie and I often acknowledge that, for a moment, we can stop looking forward and just appreciate where we are and how far we’ve come. In spite of that acknowledgement, loosening our grip on that “Olympian in training” mentality has come gradually. Just recently, Charlie and I seemed to simultaneously recognize the unfamiliar sensation of being completely stress-free. While it’s been about 10 months since Sochi, that place of discipline and preparation had been our homeostasis for so long.
Like every other, this holiday season has descended upon us quicker than we were prepared for. Our shopping may have been relatively last minute and my gingerbread men still turned out terribly! Nevertheless, what a joy it’s been to wholeheartedly embrace tradition and celebration with our loved ones. So, to all of our fellow winter Olympians, soak it in!! May you have a holiday season to remember!

Seidel: Will Davis-White fairy tale lead back to Olympics?

Seidel: Will Davis-White fairy tale lead back to Olympics?

Let's start with the two big questions that follow around Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the Olympic Gold medalists in ice dance.
First, the one that continues to pop up from the tabloids: Is Davis dating Maksim Chmerkovskiy, her partner from "Dancing With the Stars"?
"He is a really big part of my life and he's one of the most amazing people I've ever met," said Davis, who grew up in West Bloomfield. "We are not dating. We haven't dated."
But then, she quickly added: "I think we'll be a part of each other's lives for a long time."
OK. So that's settled. Now, let's move to the second question: Will Davis and White ever compete again?
"People tend to not believe us when we say we haven't made a decision about the future," said Davis, 27. "But we are so happy just being in this moment. We are not really pushing ourselves to step away from it."
White and Davis transcended sports in 2014, going from the sports pages to thetabloids and back again. It has been an amazing year, a fairytale played out on an international stage.
"It feels like it should have been three separate years," said White, 27, who grew up in Bloomfield Hills. "I think it's going to be tough to top 2014."
Life after the Olympics
After winning the gold medal at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Davis and White seemed to be everywhere. "It's pretty crazy how winning an Olympic medal can affect and shape your life," White said.
They competed against each other on "Dancing With the Stars" at the same time that they performed Stars on Ice.
"While it was the most fun time of our lives," Davis said, "we were utterly exhausted."
They got a chance to rest, for a few weeks, after Davis and Chmerkovskiy won "Dancing With the Stars." After taking a vacation, Davis and White announced that they would not compete this season.
So you figure that they would still be on a hiatus, right?
Over the last few months, the whirlwind has picked up again. They were the grand marshals of America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit. They did a skating exhibition at a mall in Dallas, and they have filmed three upcoming TV shows that will be aired in 2015.
"We are on the road constantly," Davis said. "We are grateful for how busy we are."
Davis and White continue to train at the Arctic Edge in Canton, where they prepared for the Olympics, but the pressure is gone. "Charlie and I just sort of skate around the ice laughing the whole time," Davis said. "For the most part, we have stayed true to our roots and stayed on the ice, which has been more fun than we expected. When we are home, we are on the ice together, just about every day in Canton."
They are getting ready to perform in the upcoming Stars on Ice tour, which starts Dec.30 in Lake Placid, N.Y. They are no longer being coached by Marina Zoueva, who guided them to Olympic gold, so they are trying to come up with different programs on their own, choreographing themselves.
"We have to push ourselves to keep being creative and interesting," White said.
But this experience could have a long term benefit. It could lead them back to the Olympics after the two announced in June they would sit out the 2014-15 season.
"I think we could (compete again)," White said. "In the past, with ice dance, if you win an Olympics, it's tough to keep going because you have to find new ways of expressing yourself and challenging your own skating. But what's so interesting in the system we are in right now, it is constantly changing. The challenges are inherent in the system. For us, that is something that would make it easier and the reason why we are still considering (competing). On top of that, we have a love of competition. Even now, when we do our show programs, we are constantly pushing ourselves to get all of the edges, to do the lifts. That's always there. So it wouldn't be a difficult transition."
Either way, more changes are coming in 2015, at least for White. After the Olympics, White became engaged to former Olympian Tanith Belbin, his longtime girlfriend. The wedding is set for the end of April.
Repeat after me, Charlie. When in doubt, just say: "Yes, dear!"
The future
Over the next few days, both Davis and White will be spending the holidays back home with their families. It is so different from a year ago, when the pressure was building, leading up to the Olympics.
"I made cookies with my mom last night," Davis said Tuesday morning. "This holiday season, it's really exciting because we are getting a chance to really spend it with our families. No stress. No pressure. Just being home in Detroit, reflecting on the year."
For Davis and White, 2014 was an unforgettable fairytale. The best part is, there are no signs that it is coming to an end.
Contact Jeff Seidel: Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.