Detroit Free Press SOI article

POSTED: APRIL 30, 2010

Figure skating royalty at the Palace Sunday

Local Olympians star with touring show

BY JO-ANN BARNAS FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

The Smucker's Stars on Ice Tour drops by the Palace for one show at 4 p.m. Sunday. The cast features a slew of performers from the Detroit area, including a few who competed at the Vancouver Olympics. Jo-Ann Barnas of the Free Press caught up with some of them.

TEAM MICHIGAN: The list of scheduled skaters with state ties grew by two when it was announced this week that U.S. ice-dance bronze medalists Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates of the Arctic Figure Skating Club in Canton will be added for several shows beginning with the Palace stop. Other skaters with Michigan ties are Vancouver Olympic ice-dance silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White; 2006 Olympic ice-dance silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto; two-time U.S. men's champion Jeremy Abbott; 2009 U.S. ladies gold medalist Alissa Czisny; six-time U.S. men's champ Todd Eldredge; and 1994 ladies world champion Yuka Sato.

Other cast members include Sasha Cohen, Michael Weiss and Miki Ando.

NO LYSACEK: Men's Olympic champion Evan Lysacek isn't scheduled to perform at the Palace.

He's currently managing dueling professions: he's also competing on "Dancing with the Stars" with professional partner Anna Trebunskaya.

GOLDEN OLDIE: Todd Eldredge lived in Michigan for 15 years until he moved two years ago to Florida, where he coaches with his longtime mentor, Richard Callaghan, in Ft. Myers. Eldredge trained in Rochester Hills in 2002, when he won his sixth U.S. title and qualified for his third Olympics.

Now in his eighth season with Stars, Eldredge, who'll be 39 on Aug. 28, said he's jokingly referred to as "Grandpa" by some of the skaters.

"Mirai wasn't born when I competed in my first Olympics in Albertville (in 1992)," Eldredge said of Mirai Nagasu, 17, who placed fourth in the ladies event in Vancouver.

But Eldredge isn't an old fogey on the ice. Until suffering an injured back a few weeks ago, he was training his triple axel.

JUST A TRIM: Perhaps it's not the headline grabber of a few weeks ago, when White confirmed to the Free Press that he's dating Tanith Belbin (who's moving to Detroit this summer). But many of White's fans will be surprised to learn that his head of curly blond locks are gone -- thanks to a recent trip home for a cut.

LIFE ON THE ROAD: White and Davis, who grew up in Bloomfield Hills and West Bloomfield, said touring with Stars has made them better performers.

"Getting to go out there and skating for the joy of it -- it's something you lose when you grind it out through the year," White said. "We're getting back to really loving skating."

Davis said: "Even the bus rides have been fun. We've all gotten really close over the last month or so. It's a family-type atmosphere."

MASTERFUL MENTOR: Jeremy Abbott, who placed ninth at the Olympics, said his favorite performer on tour is Yuka Sato, who's Abbott's full-time coach at the Detroit Skating Club.

"It's been nice to get to know Yuka on a completely different level," he said. "She's exquisite to watch on the ice. Her skating is incredible. When I get a chance, I go out and watch her in the show."

ANOTHER YEAR: Czisny, who split with her longtime coach (Julie Berlin) after nationals, has been working with Sato on tour but said she hasn't announced who'll coach her next season.

"I promised myself another year," Czisny said of competing. "I want to see how it goes."

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

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In Tandem after silver, Charlie White & Meryl Davis go blue





Detroit News SOI article

April 29, 2010

Olympians in Smucker's Stars on Ice to thrill hometown fans

URSULA WATSON
The Detroit News

Relive the magic of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games when Smucker's Stars on Ice glides into The Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday.

This year's Olympic medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White, both Michigan natives, will skate the Bollywood number that earned them the silver medal.

The tour, which was founded and is produced by Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, also boasts performances from past skating champions, including 2006 Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, who also competed in this year's Winter Olympics; 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen; and Todd Eldredge, a world champion and six-time national champion skater.

Davis, of West Bloomfield Township, and White, of Bloomfield Hills, say they haven't had much time to contemplate the future following their heady win. For now, the two, who have skated together for 14 years, are just enjoying being a part of the tour.

"It is a break in terms of the pressure being off and you can enjoy skating," says Davis, 23. But the tour does have its demands, she adds. "We are working really hard each day."

Twenty-two-year-old White says a tour like Smucker's On Ice is a great opportunity for young figure skating hopefuls to see the best in the sport.

"We would go see ice shows when we were younger," he says. "You get to see skaters do some of their best work and see the lighter side of the skaters."

He says the tour also has been a chance for them to talk shop with veteran skaters whom they admire.

"You get to know a skater like Todd Eldredge, who has been around for a long time," White says. "To be on tour with him and others like him is an honor. You can find out what made them so great and, hopefully, it will make us better skaters."

Additional Facts

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review SOI article


Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

By Kellie B. Gormly
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

If you were glued to the television during the figure skating competitions in February's Winter Olympic Games, you now have an opportunity to see gold medalist Evan Lysacek and many of his fellow ice champions skate live in Pittsburgh.

"Smucker's Stars on Ice" returns to Mellon Arena on Thursday with several current and former Olympic medalists -- including the 2010 silver medalist ice-dancing pair Meryl Davis and Charlie White -- as well as champions from other worldwide figure skating competitions. The skaters will perform both group and individual numbers filled with the acrobatic, artistic and graceful ice moves that define their sport, including midair jumps, spins and more.

Performing for adoring fans Smucker's Stars on Ice is very different from performing for a panel of critical, scrutinizing judges in competitions, although great skating always takes intense effort, say three of the skaters.

"It's a nice change for us," Davis says. "We like competing ... but just entertaining the audience is a lot of fun. There's still some pressure. We want to make sure the audience is having a good time, but there are no judges giving us the scores.

"To do what we do is to have to have some sort of perfectionism in our blood, and a lot of us are very critical of ourselves," Davis says. "That's how we get to where we are."

Her skating partner, Charlie White, agrees.

"It's so nice not to have the pressure of competition," he says. "But obviously, we do love that aspect of the sport; it's what we train for year-round."

Davis and White haven't had much down time between the Olympics and Stars on Ice. They also earned a silver medal at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in March.

"It's hard to have anything sink in, because we haven't had any time at home to live our normal lives yet," she says. "We're keeping busy.

"It's a lot of fun," Davis says about the show. "It's a very high-energy show. We're really just hoping the audience gets really into that."

White and Davis are joining the cast of "Stars on Ice" for the first time.

"We were really excited to be invited to do it this year," White says. "It's such an amazing cast and such a storied history. It's a great honor to be a part of it. ... I think it's going to be a great time."

Mirai Nagasu, the 2008 U.S. Champion, is joining "Stars on Ice" for a month as a guest skater, also for her first time with the show. She will be skating to music from the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean."

One interesting aspect of "Stars on Ice" is the lighting factor: a dark arena, lit only on the ice area, compared to a broad-daylight skate during competitions, she says.

"When it starts, it's kind of like skating with your eyes closed," Nagasu says. She came in second at this year's U.S. National Championships, and fourth at this year's Winter Olympics. "It's good practice for us to skate in the dark with the tour. ... It makes you ready for any kind of situation.

"It's kind of like dancing in the moonlight, but darker," she says.

Nagasu says she loves the more laid-back, fun, supportive environment of performing for fans, as opposed to judges.

"What I really like about it is even if you fall, the audience just cheers you on," she says. "You don't feel really down about yourself. They don't really care. They're there to have a good time."

Kellie B. Gormly can be reached at kgormly@tribweb.com or 412-320-7824.


91.3 The Morning Show podcast



Meryl and Charlie talk with local radio show, 91.3 WCSG about the Olympics, Michigan, trust, dedication to training, and Stars on Ice.

Hershey SOI photos

Photos © Adam & Devon Stein. Original source HERE

Belated Boston Stars on Ice Review

I (Ashley) am a friend of Grace's who was very fortunate to get tickets to see Meryl and Charlie skate in Stars on Ice when they were in Boston. It was an amazing show and I still can't believe I got to go; Grace suggested that I spread the wealth somewhat and write a short review of the show to try to share with the experience everyone on the site. Here goes:



Intro
The skaters were introduced one by one, starting with Yuka Sato, Jeremy Abbott, Michael Weiss (who has loads of energy, music switches to rock music), Alissa, Tanith and Ben, Sasha Cohen and then Meryl and Charlie come out and perform that insane Phantom of the Opera lift where Meryl balances on Charlie's leg. People cheer like crazy for that. Todd Eldredge comes out last and introduces the first skater of the night to perform.

Mirai Nagasu. She's a powerful skater, great spins, super flexible. She skated to music that sounded an awful like the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack, which is totally awesome.

Jeremy Abbott. Nails most of his triples, though he fell really hard on one, which was rough. He shook it off and landed two more perfectly. The girls behind me were wondering if he was wearing tuxedo pants. He rocked it.

Alissa C. Pretty skating, loved her outfit.

Ben comes out and riffs on the guitar, imitates a Boston accent (not too shabby at that) and plays the NBC Olympics theme song on the guitar. Random.

Todd E. Some big jumps. He had these big patches of leather for pockets on seat of his pants. Weird. Ends with a super fast spin, always a crowd pleaser.

Sasha C. Skates to a Spanish song, she is crazy flexible.

Tanith and Ben come out to introduce Meryl and Charlie!

Maybe it's just me, but I definitely felt like the audience were waiting for this routine. I heard comments like "Ooh I love this routine!" before they started and since the routine was a big hit I don't think it was in my head when I felt like a hush fell over the crowd. The music is so lively, Meryl's outfit is gorgeous (the colors really pop), and there's just so much energy to the whole dance. I've seen in so many times, but it really is a completely different experience to watch it being performed live. They connect so well with the music and each other and they just look like they're having a blast out on the ice. Not to be too cheesy, but they clearly love what they do, you can sense the passion they have for the sport. One of my friends that went with me who doesn't watch a whole lot of ice skating afterwards said, hands down, best performance by far of the night. Though I guess to be fair, it was the only Olympic routine we saw. The only complaint I had is that it goes by way too fast when you watch it live. Even though I know what's coming next, I take for granted how fast they can skate. Oh well, the crowd and I forgive them for that; much applause at the end.

Michael W. Skates to Josh Groban and he does a back flip which everyone goes nuts for.

Sasha and Alissa skate a piece together, it's a famous operatic piece that I've heard in movies but don't know what it's called.

Yuka Sato is next skating to swing music and then Emily Hughes was a special guest; both skated very well.

A bizarre group number right before intermission. Not that I don't like it, it's just different - like a vampire nightclub kind of theme; something out of True Blood. I noticed how tiny Meryl is compared to everyone else. They exit to music that you'd hear in at Abercrombie and Fitch; at least what I would hear when I was last in one 5 years ago...

Rachel Flatt skates after the intermission solid jumps and ends with pretty spin.

Tanith and Ben skate to If It Kills Me by Jason Mraz. Excellent choice. Reminds me of the So You Think You Can Dance number that Jeanine and Jason did. They always put on a good show.

Yuka Sato skates next, followed by Jeremy Abbott who seems like he's on a mission to erase that fall that he had the first go round. He really connects well with the song (by Buble) and is so fast and powerful; looking forward to seeing him in future competitions for sure.

Ben comes out and does another guitar riff and the Alissa skates to a cheesy club song. But at least she's having fun with it.

Tanith, Sasha, and Yuko do a mini routine to a yodeling song (I don't really understand) and then it's Michael W's turn to do, as my friend says, the male equivalent of what Alissa did. He does a backflip - no matter how many times you see one, it's always pretty cool.

Meryl and Charlie and Tanith and Ben do a group number together and it's easily the best group number of the night. Probably because it's at much higher level technically speaking since the two teams are more evenly matched then any other random pairing out of the roster. There are some really pretty lifts and overall beautiful skating to a Leona Lewis type song.

Todd skates next followed by Sasha, her second skate is really pretty, the program suits her and she chose a good song to skate to as well (an awesome cover of Hallelujah, I wish I knew who sang it).

Final group number is a Disco routine. I can't say I'm a huge fan of these; personally a second routine by M&C would've been the cherry on top of an awesome show.

Photo
© Adam & Devon Stein. www.ice-skate.net

Worlds Post-CD mixed zone interview