Detroit Freep article on moms' reflections

Ice dancers' mothers share their children's journey, partnership
By Jo-Ann Barnas

As the mothers of Meryl Davis and Charlie White, they've seen them grow from beginner skaters who needed a boost to reach the drinking fountain to Olympic and world silver medalists who have begun thinking about life after skating.

Born nine months apart in the same hospital -- Royal Oak's William Beaumont -- Davis, 24, and White, 23, have been competing together for 14 years, the longest partnership of any ice dance team in the nation. They were coached by Seth Chafetz at the Detroit Skating Club from 1997 to 2005 before relocating to Canton in 2006 to work with Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva at the Arctic FSC.

On Monday, Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White -- both 56 -- will leave for Moscow for the World Figure Skating Championships. Their ice dancers compete Friday and Saturday. If they win, Meryl and Charlie will become the first world champions for the U.S. since the discipline was added at worlds in 1952.

Recently, the mothers sat around the kitchen table at Davis' West Bloomfield home and shared their thoughts on how their children have made their partnership work over the years. An excerpt:

Cheryl Davis: "My opinion is, they've never gotten in each other's personal lives. They respect each other. When they were growing up, we always felt like the kids spent so much time on the ice together that they didn't need to be in the car together. So Jacqui picked Charlie up after school, and I picked Meryl up, and we'd take them to the rink. They've always had separate lives away from skating."

Jacqui White: "And they liked it that way. They like their space."

Davis: "It's like they have a business; they do their job."

White: "Another reason is, they both learned as little kids to be respectful of one another's feelings. They don't fight, but that doesn't mean they don't get mad sometimes. They just really know that their success is based on how well they can work with that other person -- and part of that is trying to keep each other happy and motivated."

Davis: "And they know each other so well that they don't have to talk to each other. They know."

White (laughing): "He can look at her and say, 'She's worrying.' And she can look at him and think, 'Uh-oh, he knows I'm worrying.'

"I remember that one time at the Junior Olympics (in 1998), I asked you right after they finished, 'Do you think I should ask them if they want to keep doing this?' And you said, 'Let's not ask' because they were so young."

Davis (laughing): "They were having fun. They liked winning. Every competition, it was so cute, they'd run after the elevator buttons. And we'd always have a celebration dinner, win or lose. This is something, a part of their lives, and we were always there."


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