Detroit Freep: post Skate America article

Jeff Seidel at Skate America: Meryl Davis, Charlie White are tenacious athletes, sweet celebs

The line stretched through Joe Louis Arena.
Little kids waiting to meet their heroes.
The day after winning the ice dance competition at Skate America, Meryl Davis and Charlie White were back Sunday afternoon, signing autographs for more than 100 kids.
Quick note to all pro athletes: Davis and White didn’t charge the kids. It was free, which, I know, is a foreign, strange concept. Please learn from them.
White was wearing jeans, a Polo shirt and sneakers. Davis was wearing a Team USA jacket, pants and boots.
They looked like college kids, which they are, although they are taking off a semester at Michigan to get ready for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
So they signed autographs and posed for pictures and made small talk with kids who walked by and looked like they had stars in their eyes.
After they were done, Davis and White hugged several of the organizers of the autograph session.
Once you meet Davis and White, you will forever remain in their hug zone. They are huggers. Which is a cool thing.
They are friendly and accessible and fun and seem so normal.
But Davis and White understand something important: They have the power to inspire little kids and put a surge into this sport that glows bright only once every four years.
And this sport needs a surge.
So it is important for them to meet with kids and do everything they can to generate publicity and interest as they shoot for an Olympic gold medal at the Sochi Games.
The attendance at Skate America was dismal at 16,312, for the three days, which felt sparse.
The organizers didn’t bother to open the upper bowl in the Joe — they smartly covered it with a curtain — and only about half of the lower bowl was filled. But there were several reasons. This event came in the middle of a Tigers’ playoff run, the Lions were playing a home game on Sunday, a marathon filled the streets of Detroit earlier in the day and Saturday was filled up with college football.
General sports fans in Detroit didn’t even notice this event was going on.


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