New article, "Staying in the moment"

Article from teamusa. One minor error in that the particular youtube clip has actually collected over 230,000 views but when you combine the various OD clips, they have over 320,000 views. But otherwise, great article! I love their point-of-view on things. It seems that they have a healthy perspective on everything b/c of their level-headedness, which I personally think is important to maintain since perspective is something that is easy to forget sometimes!!!

Meryl Davis & Charlie White, Staying in the moment

Joanne C. Gerstner/ Red Line Editorial January 19, 2010

It would be so easy for champion American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White to sneak a quick peek ahead to what’s coming in the next few months.

They will try to defend their U.S. title this week.

If they skate well, the reward could be their first trip the Olympic Winter Games in February.

A few weeks later, in March, they would be off to the World Championships in Torino, the site of the 2006 Winter Games.

Getting excited, and a bit nervous, about these major competitions would be normal. But that’s clearly not Davis and White’s style.

“We’re just taking everything in the moment: we’re not looking ahead, we’re not dwelling on things that have happened in the past,” Davis, 23, said. “We’ve learned that you have to stay in the moment where you’re at, work as hard as you can to prepare, and then that is what let’s you enjoy the competitions. You’re prepared. You’re ready. You’ve done all you can, and all that’s left is to skate your best.

“That system seems to work for Charlie and myself.”

They hope that system works well this week in Spokane, Wash., where they will try to win a second national ice dancing title at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships and a berth to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The ice dancing competition begins Thursday.

The United States can send three ice dancing teams to Vancouver and based on how Davis and White have performed this season, they appear to be on track to pack their bags.

First, however, they have to skate, and they will face tough competition, most notably from five-time U.S. champions, 2006 Olympic silver medalists and friends, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto. Davis and White trained with Belbin and Agosto in Detroit for several years before Belbin and Agosto decided to switch coaches and relocate to Aston, Pa. Belbin and Agosto did not compete at the 2009 nationals because Agosto was recovering from a back injury.

White and Davis are the longest-running ice dance team in the U.S., skating together since 1997. Both came from singles backgrounds, but it was clear there was immediate chemistry when they were first matched up at the Detroit Skating Club.

Even though they insist they are not looking ahead, they will admit they are in a very strong position heading into the biggest three months of their lives.

They won their first U.S. title in 2009, and decided to try to work even harder to prepare for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. White has always been conservative in his spoken goals, defusing those who asked him if he was going to the Olympic Winter Games.

He was 14 when people started asking him about the Games.

It wasn’t until two years ago, at 20, when he finally stated he was aiming toward Vancouver. He and Davis started making that lofty goal more of a reality with their steady rise in international competitions (they finished fourth at the 2009 World Championships) and, of course, winning a U.S. title.

“Charlie never wants to do something until he feels he is ready and can be his best there,” said Jackie White, Charlie’s mother. “He’s always been that way. He wants to practice, prepare and be the best.

“He sets his goals high, but he wants to also achieve the goals. I think he finally felt they were in contention for the Olympics, so when people asked about it, he could say yes.”

Their preparations for the 2009-10 season reflected the increased intensity, and coach Igor Shpilband took notice.

“They set their goals very high, and we talked about what it would take to get there,” said Shpilband, who along with Marina Zoueva, coaches the team in Canton, Mich. “They wanted to reach their full potential. I can say I have definitely seen them take off this year. They have always been good, but their year, they are even better.”

White and Davis have impressed with strong interpretation of choreography, intricate footwork, and a very risky and unique style of lifts. Their original dance is set to folk music from India, and it has generated more than 430,000 hits on YouTube.

They wear authentic Indian costumes, with Davis in a bejeweled, ruby-colored sari, and White wearing a khaki-colored long coat. They worked with an Indian choreographer, trying to make their dance moves as true as possible to the music and culture.

“We were really surprised and happy by the reaction to the Indian piece, it’s been pretty definite and overwhelming,” White said. “We liked it in practice, we’re just glad it’s struck such a chord with the fans.”

Their free dance is set to a medley from the long-running musical “Phantom of the Opera.”

White and Davis are undefeated this season, and capped off the pre-Olympic schedule by winning their first ISU Grand Prix Final title. The Grand Prix Final features the season’s top-six ice dancing teams in the world.

But they know the toughest competitions are still to come.

“We feel really good, knock on wood,” Davis said. “Things are going well, but we never take anything for granted, because everything can change in a second.”

White and Davis share unique traits. Both are natives of suburban Detroit, growing up 10 minutes away from each other. Both have never moved to train, something required of most elite skaters. They’re now students at the University of Michigan, enjoying having a balance between skating and real life.

“It keeps us in a good place, because we just aren’t skaters, we’ve always been more than that,” White, 22, said. “That’s always been important to us. And we’ve had the support of our family and friends the whole way. We know that no matter what happens over the next few months that we’re going to try our best, and we’re still going be loved and have a good life.”


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