pre Worlds article

Davis and White happy to share

Tue, 27 Mar 04:00:00 2012

World ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White have the same coaches as their closest rivals, Olympic gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, but they are happy to share mentors.

"Scott and Tessa are phenomenal and it's great for us to see just how good they are (on a daily basis) - lest we forget," a laughing White told Reuters in an interview ahead of this week's world championships which start on Wednesday.

"That really spurs us to be at our best. We understand the level we have to be at to take on a team as talented as they are."

His 25-year-old partner added: "Training with your top rivals definitely makes you want to come in and give 100 per cent every hour of every day. The rivalry has pushed us further then probably either team would be without the rivalry. It's nice to keep a close eye on your closest competition."

Russian coaches Marina Zueva and Igor Shpilband enjoyed a hat-trick of success at last year's world championships when all three ice dance medals were snapped up by their charges.

In fact over the past couple of years, the two North American couples have captured every major title on offer - with White and Davis grabbing 10 successive golds before Virtue and Moir finally snapped the run at last month's Four Continents.

While having four top skaters training under the same roof day-in and day-out might have created an environment full of friction, Zueva and Shpilband have nurtured a harmonious atmosphere.

"It would be nice to get so much (more) time with our coaches but the situation we have with so many talented teams (training under the same roof) is actually more beneficial to us," Davis said.

White, who stands out with his distinctive mop of dishevelled blond curls, added: "We never feel we are getting short changed to any degree. Marina's a brilliant scheduler of time and keeps things running very smoothly.

"Both coaches do a fantastic job on working on everybody's weaknesses and recognising the individual team's strengths as well. We would never want any other coaches besides Marina and Igor as they are just brilliant."

Davis and White, 24, have already broken new ice, becoming the first Americans to win the ice dancing world crown in Moscow last April.

The duo's unique choreography, mesmerising footwork and inventive lifts - as showcased in their Bollywood-themed original dance from the Vancouver Olympics - have won them critical acclaim and an army of fans in figure skating circles.

Yet Davis and White, who have been skating partners for 15 years, are in no rush to raise their profile by grabbing every publicity opportunity that falls their way.

Fellow world champion skaters Katarina Witt and Maria Butyrskaya had no qualms about showing off their birthday suits in magazine shoots but when the same offer was tabled to Davis and White - there was only one option.

"It's not something we'd ask someone about 'hey can we pose nude in a magazine?' White said rather bemused at the offer made by an American sports publication.

"Yeah, it's flattering of course but in talking with Meryl, it wasn't a tough decision not to do it. It's not the angle we are going for to be in the public eye. It's really not us."

"We'd want to be (known) for winning and winning the right way - I think it's possible to capture the public's imagination that way and that's what Meryl and I are trying to do.

"We're not going to have any shocking revelations and that's how we like to keep it."


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