Cinncinati SOI article

May 4, 2010

American dancers skate in Stars on Ice spotlight

By Jackie Demaline

You saw them on the ice at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Now the Smucker's Stars on Ice Tour brings Olympians, current and former, to U.S. Bank Arena for one performance tonight.

The lineup includes reigning U.S. national champion and 2010 Olympian Jeremy Abbott; U.S. national silver medalists Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates; and ice dancing silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who will perform the Bollywood routine that wowed the Vancouver crowd during the Olympics.

Men's singles gold medalist Evan Lysacek, who is competing on "Dancing with the Stars," is not on this segment of the tour.

Former Olympians on the program include world champion and six-time national champion Todd Eldredge; two-time world bronze medalist and three-time national champion Michael Weiss; world champion and two-time Japanese ladies champion Yuka Sato; and 2009 U.S. national champion Alissa Czisny.

Also skating are 2006 Olympic silver medalists and 2010 Olympians Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto and 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen.

Davis and White were initially teamed as children in 1997 and are the longest running ice dance partnership in the history of U.S. figure skating.

They won the 2006 U.S. national junior title and a bronze medal at the 2006 World Junior Championships. They are the 2009 and 2010 U.S. national champions.

They were a sensation in Vancouver in an exotic ice dance that had its inspiration in Indian scarves.

White says they're not even thinking about next season, although Davis admitted to talking to their coach twice on the day of our phone interview.

The University of Michigan students are enjoying the two-month tour, although, White says, the beginning of rehearsals were crazy. They were at the 2010 World Championships, and when they joined the show "we had a two-day crash course and two days later we were in the show."

The tour, Davis says, is a great learning experience. "We're watching (the other skaters), picking up things."

"And we can explore a different side of skating," White adds. "All our lives we've trained for competition. Here judges aren't watching our every move, our goal is to get the crowd into it."

They're also thinking about where they go from here.

"Coming off of an Olympic year," White says, "where we accomplished a lot of our goals" just means setting new goals. "There's a lot of room to grow, we can improve on everything we do."

There will be a few weeks off in June, "then it's right back to the grind," White says. "We were so close to the top last year. We've got a taste for it."


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