Detroit Free Press pre-Skate America article

Freep.com

November 11, 2010

Skaters Meryl Davis, Charlie White improving programs

By JO-ANN BARNAS
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

As the reigning Olympic silver medalists, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White know there's a certain performance level expected from them each time they step on the ice.

It matters little that they basically lapped the field the last time they competed, winning the gold medal last month at the NHK Trophy in Japan by a whopping 23.64 points.

At this point of the post-Olympic year, Davis and White -- who train at the Arctic Figure Skating Club in Canton -- know there's plenty of motivation to be found in pushing the creative envelope with their coaches, Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband, while smoothing out the rough edges in their programs.

"Charlie and I are using our skating to inspire us and keep us working every day," Davis said. "We're still loving the sport because we think we have a lot to give and a lot to grow."

The two-time U.S. champions are in Portland, Ore., this weekend for Skate America. It's their second ISU Grand Prix of the season, an event that almost assuredly will qualify them for the Grand Prix Final, where they're the defending champions.

At Skate America, Davis and White said they hope to show the improvements they've made in their short dance, particularly their two Golden Waltz sequences -- one of which gained just a Level 1 (lowest rating) at NHK.

"We just missed a few edges, a little slip here and there," White said of their last competition. "We were performing to the audience (and) not hitting edges as we are used to doing."

Davis and White said the audience in Portland also will see that their Tango free dance has been reworked.

"We did an OK job with that at NHK, but when we took a step back and looked at it, it was almost too full," White said. "It's hard for us to take a breath, and the audience as well. So we're changing it around a little bit to give us an opportunity to showcase some of the moves more than just trying to fit everything into the program at one time."

Davis and White are in the fortunate position of being healthy while their training partners -- Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada -- have yet to compete this season. Virtue is recovering from leg surgery.

"It could only hurt us to go back and think we're favorites because (Virtue and Moir) are temporarily injured," White said. "If anyone can come back strong, it's them."

Contact JO-ANN BARNAS: 313-222-2037 or jbarnas@freepress.com . Read more in her Olympics blog at freep.com/olympicsblog.

Related content

Let's dance

What: Skate America.
When: Friday-Sunday.
Where: Portland, Ore.
TV: 4-6 p.m. Sunday (NBC).
Schedule: Friday -- pairs short program, men's short. Saturday -- ladies short program, short dance, men's free skate, pairs free. Sunday -- ladies long, free dance.




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