Photoshoot and interview from nbcolympics.com

Charlie's Bio

Q&A from nbcolympics

Do you have a memory of the first time you saw or knew of each other or met each other?
Charlie White: I mean honestly, the first memory I have of meeting Meryl was the first time I really skated with her. We had always been at the same rink, so we walked past each other, but we were too little to really communicate. Our coach put is together in dance, and Meryl had never really done ice dance before and I was a little advanced. So I was like, ‘Really? You're going to make me skate with this girl that has no idea what she's doing?' I was impressed and it was something we had never done in skating. I'm skating with a girl, you know. We'd never danced with someone of the opposite sex before.

Meryl Davis: I mean I had seen Charlie before, but I didn't really know him at all. And honestly, when we first started skating together, I had no idea what I was doing. Charlie's coach asked me to skate with him or he asked my mom if I would skate with him, and I just kind of went with the flow, having fun with it. We didn't talk for a couple of years. [Our coach] kept threatening to put a sticker on Charlie's forehead so that I would look at something, ‘cause Charlie would look at me and I'd just not look at him in the face. Very slowly, we got to know each other and now we're like family, so it's good.

You've probably spent more time with each other than just about anybody else. When you guys are away from the ice, do you have separate lives then?
Davis: I think there was one time I saw Charlie on campus. Randomly. We kind of just gave each other funny looks. And just walked away. It was so funny, ‘cause we're together so much, so to see each other unintentionally was just -

White: It was weird. We have a lot of the same friends so we always end up hanging out quite a bit.

Davis: I spend a lot of time with my sorority. I'm in Delta, Delta, Delta, otherwise known as Tri-Delta. I've developed some great friendships, and it's enabled me to have a little bit more of a normal college experience. I've met some really great people who I think will be my life-long friends. They're a lot of fun as Charlie well knows. Charlie was a skeptic starting out. When I first pledged my sorority no one made fun of me more than Charlie. And now Charlie's meeting my sorority sisters and is going to parties and getting invited to things. And, I mean, I don't want to take all the credit. But-

White: I'm benefiting. I'm not going to lie.

How has your relationship evolved over time?
Davis: Charlie's kind of helped me loosen up a little bit. When we first competed I was really young, really shy and it was hard for me to look him in the face. I was just totally introverted.

White: When you're very little you can get away with whatever you want. But as you grow up, it's important to develop people skills. Just from being with Meryl all the time, I've really had to tone down jokes and learn what I can and cannot say sometimes. She doesn't get mad at me. But she'll give me a funny look. I've learned.

You have been skating together for a long time, but haven't been to an Olympics yet. Do you have an image of what you expect the Olympics to be like when you get there?
Davis: When we were in Vancouver it was funny to be in the Olympic venue because I have always been someone who's imagined things so grand and beyond comprehension. I went to Niagara Falls with my family when I was young, and I cried because I thought it would be bigger. In the Olympic venue, I was thinking, ‘I can see the ceiling.' I didn't think I'd be able to see the ceiling. But it kind of brought it back down to life for me because it's always been so out of reach, just something to imagine.

White: I have to agree with Meryl. I kind of imagine things to be really huge and with the brightest colors and everything would taste different. But, I think we recognize that it's going to be another competition and we're going to have to approach it the same way.

Did you watch the ice dancing at the last Olympics in Torino? What are your memories from that?
Davis: At the time of the 2006 Games, we were training with Tanith and Ben and we shared coaches with them. So, seeing their experience and seeing our coaches and everyone we knew at the Games from home just watching it on TV, it was a different experience for us.

White: It was great to be able to cheer on our friends and comrades, and at the same time, I think it kind of helped to motivate us for the next one.

Was that Olympics different for you to watch compared to the ones you'd watched on TV when you were little?
White: A little bit. Skating at our previous rink, there were a lot of good, competitive skaters so a lot of the times we knew some of the [Olympians]. In 1998, we knew Todd Eldridge and Liz [Punsalan] and Jerod [Swallow] and Tara Lipinski...Jessica Joseph and Charlie Butler.

Davis: There was always a lot of hustle and bustle before the Olympics for us. then we moved to Artic Edge in canton when Tanith and Ben were on their way to the Olympics, so again, there was a lot of media, so we've always kind of seen the behind the scenes of Olympic preparations.

How do you expect that will help you?
Davis: I don't think it will help us at all, honestly. We've been in this for a very long time, and the last couple years we've been put out on bigger and bigger stages and I think that it's prepared us well. Hopefully, we'll be able to stay level-headed.

What was the high point of last season for you?
Davis: I think that Nationals was really the high point for us. Not necessarily because of the win, just because training-wise and just- as athletes, I think we both felt really good about where we were. We loved our programs and I think that just throughout the year, we had kind of been building parts of performances that we were able to put out at nationals. So putting out those performances in Cleveland, not too far from our homes, with families able to come see us, it was great for us.

You know what you can work on. Is there frustration that some of it is out of control?
White: I wouldn't say so. I think you've got to keep frustration out of it. We know what we need to work on and we talk to the judges and they give us hints and we try to stay out of the politics and stuff that we can't really control. We worry about the stuff that we can control and we know there's a lot of stuff we need to work on.

How do you respond to people who say that ice dancing isn't a sport?
Davis: If someone were to actually come to one of our training sessions, there's lots of flipping and sweating and crying and blood going on all over the place. I mean if that doesn't qualify it as a sport then I don't know what does.

White: I played hockey and all sorts of sports and just the athleticism that it takes, especially nowadays to be an ice dancer, I mean there's just no question.

What's the most dangerous part of it?
White: I would have to say the lifts. You know you can catch an edge easily and some of the positions are awkward and you can fall the wrong way. Usually you try to save the girl and sometimes it's at the expense of yourself. So bad things can happen with lifts and obviously blades. Anytime there's a blade involved in anything there's a little bit of danger.

Davis: Scars. Stitches.

White: You get kicked a few times, but generally, you know, we've been
pretty lucky.

Davis: You should see our shins, they're permanently bruised. And Charlie has scars all over his arms from when I stepped on them.

White: We were doing steps and I fell right in front of her and she continued to step...you can kind of [still] see the blade marks.

Davis: Living on the edge every day.

Outside of your competition, what are you most looking forward to in Vancouver?
Davis: I think that meeting people from different parts of the world and hearing different languages, and just getting to see how people interact, how people train, just kind of observing is what I'm really excited about.

White: I'll really be looking forward to hockey. I think it might be the last time that the NHL-ers will be invited to play in the Olympics. I'm a big hockey fan and I have a good Canadian friend who will be there, so we'll be USA/Canada. It'll be a good rivalry, honestly.

Meryl, you said when you were younger that you didn't want to go to the Olympics if it meant giving up everything else. How have you achieved that balance?
Davis: Part of the strength that Charlie and I have as a team is we've been able to keep our priorities straight through our entire partnership. We've been able to maintain a life outside of skating and though we've given up a lot of things and we've been training really hard our entire lives, we've been able to maintain great social lives. We have wonderful friends, and families, we've been very fortunate in that we didn't have to move away to skate together. We have the best coaches in the world, half an hour away from where we were born. And, the University of Michigan is right down the road from where we grew up.

-- compiled by NBC Olympics and Universal Sports


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