American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the first Americans to ever win a gold in the ice dancing category at the Olympic Games. The pair, who have been skating together since fourth grade, spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about everything from what it feels like to fall to Tinder in the Olympic Village.
How do you feel about people who say that ice dancing isn't a sport?
Charlie: I think it's easy to sit on your couch and say that kind of thing. It's definitely one of the most physical activities you can take part in. I played hockey when I was young, and it's definitely on equal footing — the only difference is I didn't have to look good while playing hockey. [Laughs.] But in ice dancing, there is a new judging system and it's point-based, so we feel very strongly that it's a sport.
What is your reaction to the rumors that you're dating each other?
Charlie: I didn't know there were rumors! But, I think we can positively quell those, since we're both in relationships. It's tough because on the ice we have to make people believe that we're in love during our performances, so we'll take that people think we're dating as a compliment because I guess we're doing our job well! But we grew up together and have known each other for so long, so there is a connection there.
On the topic of dating, the Olympic Village is known to be hookup crazy place where everyone's on Tinder. Tell me more about that.
Meryl: [Laughs] Well, we're definitely not on Tinder, since we're both in relationships already. Tinder wouldn't go over very well with our significant others at home.
Charlie: I think Tinder is something that gets a lot more press than it is visible. People really like that all of the athletes in the Village get together and are very attractive, but the real reason we're all here is to compete. The rest is fun to talk about, but you don't really see that [hookup] side of that very much.
Meryl: But just because you don't see it doesn't mean it isn't there! [Laughs.]
Were your S.O.'s in Sochi watching your performance?
Meryl: Charlie's is here working for NBC, but mine was watching at home.
What are you doing now that you've won your gold? Will you still train?
Meryl: We're really just trying to enjoy it at the moment. This is really the first time in our career that we've been able to enjoy our win without thinking about the next stepping stone. But, the World Figure Skating Championships are coming up in three weeks in Tokyo, so after we get home in Detriot we'll decide if we're going to enter that.
OK, Meryl, random question: do you see yourself as more of a Belle or a Jasminem, Disney Princess-wise?
Jasmine, I just think she is more interesting.
Your coach also coaches the Canadian team, who came in just behind you. What is that like?
Charlie: It's something that we've grown used to. It's been like that for nine years now. It's very motivating actually. I mean, the Canadians are a great team, but over the last four years the key to our success has been focusing on ourselves.
How would you easily summarize the difference between ice dancing and ice skating?
Charlie: Ice dancing is a subset of ice skating. Within ice skating there is men's singles, women's singles, pair skating, and ice dancing. With pairs you get a lot more throws and ice dancing you have intricate and close dancing with lifts and a romantic story line. We have the best of both worlds though because there is a lot of athleticism thanks to the lifts we do.
How would you describe your on-ice style?
Meryl: It really depends on the program. We try to really embody the feeling of the music, so we often have several different variations of costumes for short dance and free dance.
The incredible "U" lift? Tell me more about that.
Meryl: For that particular lift we started working on it a whole season before, so two years, but there is so much about timing that you have to get right, so it was one we practiced a lot.
Charlie: Yeah, it's hard to do the swing through and then pull her up on my shoulders. When it doesn't work perfectly it hurts because it's such a hard move, so we knew we'd have to practice it a lot. But it was a special move for us, so we wanted to put it at the beginning of the routine to really make a statement.
You're constantly on the ice and in a cold environment that probably lend to getting sick and a lot of runny noses. What are your go-to products?
Charlie: Of all the go-to's, the only thing after the water bottle is Puff's tissues. Because we're on the ice so much, we're more prone to getting sick, so they come in handy. They also sponsor us, so we're so lucky to be a part of the team, especially since we get a lot of runny noses when we're training.
In detail, how does it feel to fall?
Charlie: Not in detail, it sucks. But we take precaution to minimize the amount it happens. We start on the floor with no skates and practice the lifts, next we put skates on and do the lift, and then we move to the ice to try it out. But we've been together for so long that we find a way to exit a lift with ease even if it isn't working. We really trust each other, so that helps.