Grand Prix Final preview

November 30, 2012 at 1:40 am

Meryl Davis, Charlie White sharpening for Grand Prix Final

From The Detroit News: 

They are off to Russia, looking for a fourth consecutive Grand Prix Final title, but it is plainly more than old hat for Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
The ice dancers from Metro Detroit, the four-time reigning U.S. champions (2009-12), are off to Sochi, site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, for the climax of the Grand Prix season, Dec. 6-9.
"There's not a lot of time between NHK and the Grand Prix Final, so we are doing our best to make the improvements that we feel are important to make," said Davis, from West Bloomfield.
Davis and White dominated the NHK Trophy event, the most recent on the Grand Prix circuit, using some innovative lifts to win gold, with 22 points to spare, over Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov.
It was their 11th consecutive Grand Prix Series gold medal.
The duo won the 2011 World title and the silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
They also are the only U.S. ice dance team to successfully defend a Grand Prix Final title, and they have done it twice.
Despite all the accomplishments, and nine consecutive years of participating in the Grand Prix, they say they remain hard at work on the basics of the sport.
White said they are drawing on lessons from the recent Skate America competition.
"Most of the feedback we got for Skate America was technical because it's so important and makes such a difference," he said.
After reviewing their performance with coach Marina Zoueva, a decision was made to perfect their developing program as the season went on.
"We all decided that the program was just in its infancy and there was a lot of room to grow," said White, who is from Bloomfield Hills and attends Michigan.
"You can't keep changing things all the time, otherwise you won't be prepared to compete."
In Russia, Davis and White face their archrivals, and friends, Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
Virtue and Moir, the defending Olympic gold medalists and World champions, are from Ontario, but often live in suburban Detroit while training with Zoueva.
But the consistent theme for Davis and White throughout their careers is improving in the competition against themselves.
Both are 25 years old, and have skated together 15 years.
"Going into the final, we are mostly looking at improving where we are at," White said, hitting the familiar theme.
"It's definitely going to be a great competition because of those competitors," he said, referring to all of the skaters.
"We always look forward to having the bar raised a little bit. We are obviously going for the win.
"This is the halfway point of the year and it's going to be a good measuring stick with which way we need to go. We are focused on the Worlds this year and building toward that and setting ourselves up for that."
As veterans, White said, there is not much intimidation, mostly just competitive excitement.
"There's going to be a lot of energy and we'll try to use that to our advantage," he said.
Both are look forward to skating in Sochi in 2014, where they again are likely to face off against Virtue and Moir.
"For us, gaining any kind of level of comfort in a certain area is really important," Davis said.
"We were able to go to the test event in Vancouver for the Four Continents Championships in 2009. I remember returning to the venue in 2010 and feeling a little more comfortable having been there before and not having everything at the Olympics be new and kind of overwhelming."

From The Detroit News:


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