Great article from Forth Worth Star-Telegram

Star-Telegram.com

Meryl Davis and Charlie White grow into their ice dancing partnership

Posted Saturday, Dec. 05, 2009

Meryl Davis was 9 when she met 8-year-old Charlie White. It was partnership at first skate.

They still are together 13 years later and among the medal contenders in ice dancing.

"We’ve skated together for 13 years. That’s the better half of our lives," Davis said. "I can’t really remember a time when we weren’t skating together. It seems second nature now."

Davis and White grew up a snowball’s throw from each other in Bloomfield, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. White was a freestyle skater and a hockey player, but he had "terrible posture." So his skating coach put him in ice dancing and paired him with Davis because the two looked good together.

It took awhile before they spoke to each other.

"We were both pretty shy and not very mature," White said.

Now, they complete each other’s sentences.

"We both know like what the other one is probably is going to say," White said. "I’ll say something and think, 'I just stole that from Meryl.’ "

Davis said they developed their skills together, "growing into it." As the longest-running ice dance partnership in the U.S., Davis and White consider themselves "family."

Their relationship helps their partnership because they spend seven hours a day together at the rink.

"I like Meryl, and I hope she likes me," White said. "I think we’ve been very fortunate in that respect. ... After the 13 years we’ve been together, it’s been a real blessing to have a partner I get along with so well."

They won the United States Junior Ice Dancing title in 2006. In 2007, they were second at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championships and third a year later. This year, they won the U.S. Ice Dance crown and later won the 2009 Four Continents Championships.

"Charlie and I definitely have that kind of underdog kind of status," Davis said. "Whether or not we actually are, we always kind of think of ourselves that way. I think it’s a healthier way to go into competition."

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia are the 2009 World Ice Dance champions and the Olympic gold medal favorites. Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, who won the silver medal at the 2006 Olympics, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France also are medal contenders.

Belbin and Agosto did not compete in the U.S. championships last fall after Agosto injured his back. But they finished second at worlds.

Still, despite the competition, Davis and White like their chances.

"Our goal is to get a gold medal," White said. "If we skate our best, we have as good a chance as anyone."


2010 Vancouver Olympics Feb. 12-28

Ice dancing: Feb. 19, 21, 22 (medal)

Online:www.vancouver2010.com; www.usfsa.org

Charean Williams, 817-390-7760


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