Parade article

For American ice dancing duo Meryl Davis and Charlie White, winning an Olympic gold medal was a dream 17 years in the making.
“We’re so grateful for this opportunity,” Davis said. “We’ve been working in this direction for so long and to finally accomplish this goal, this dream, is such an honor.”
In addition to their gold medal in ice dancing, Davis and White helped Team USA earn a bronze medal in the first-ever team skating event. The culmination of their years of hard work paid off in the form of another iconic Olympic symbol: their winning moment has been memorialized on a limited edition box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. caught up with the gold medalists about achieving their goals, their pet peeves, and their moms.
What does winning Team USA’s first Olympic gold medal in ice dancing mean to you both?Meryl: “It’s hard to really put into words. We’re so grateful for this opportunity. We’ve been working in this direction for so long and to finally accomplish this goal, this dream, is such an honor.”
Charlie: “We got our great start 17 years ago. Being together that long has helped us so much. Being able to share this success with our families since they’ve been with us from the beginning to the end makes this even more special.”
What was it like to compete under the pressure of possibly making U.S. Olympic history?
Meryl: ”We weren’t really thinking about making U.S. history. We were focused on executing the program we had visualized in our minds. And I think that mindset served us very well. Over the last couple of months there’s been a lot of media attention so we knew those expectations were set. But we wanted so much from ourselves – that was the primary focus coming into the Games.”

What is it like to see yourselves on a box of Corn Flakes?
Charlie: “Being featured on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box is amazing. It’s something you dream about as a kid at the breakfast table.  It is truly an honor. Kellogg’s has helped us start off our day since we were kids. Being pictured on the Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box is an awesome reminder of what we’ve achieved thanks to our great starts.”
You train with your direct competitors—Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, what’s your dynamic like with them?Charlie: “Training with our closest competition has really pushed us. They are such fantastic skaters … they are the Vancouver 2010 gold medalists. They always bring their ‘A’ game to every competition. Knowing that helps us every day in practice and helps us stay focused. Coming from 2010, we felt we could become a more complete team and the pressure they provide is great. But we’ve always felt we need to focus on ourselves and the areas that we need to improve. In the end, that was the most important thing.”
And what’s it like to share a coach with the number two ice dancing team?
Meryl: “We think it’s great. We think our training environment is very beneficial.  Our coach [Marina Zoueva] is incredibly talented and not only does she have a lot to give to both teams, but also having the training structure as it is has really enhanced what we’ve been able to bring to the ice.”
You have incredible chemistry on the ice, what do you attribute that to?
Charlie: “We have a lot of respect for each other and we both have very similar work ethics. We’ve both always been very committed to the sport. And we’re thankful we both love it a lot to put in the level of commitment needed. Obviously we wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of families – especially our moms who come to every competition – and sponsors like Kellogg’s who help us reach our full potential including here at the Olympics.”
You’ve been partners so long, what are your pet peeves about each other?
Meryl: “My pet peeve about Charlie is that he’s so darn quick and witty … that anytime I come up with a great joke or a cool punch line, he always beats me to it.”
Charlie: “I don’t really have any pet peeves and that’s probably what helps our partnership … we’re such great friends. But if I had to say one thing, it’s kind of funny, but she does really love puppies. And sometimes when we’re having a serious conversation – she’ll hold up a picture of a really cute puppy and it helps break up the tension that can come up in training.”
Since you grew up training together, what’s something no one knows about your partner?Meryl: “Charlie has an adorable niece and nephew – his sister’s kids. They are the cutest little kids … and they look up to him so much. I think seeing him play the role of Uncle Charlie is a different roles and it’s a good role for him.”
Charlie: “Meryl is very proficient with languages and especially Italian. But it’s not just the language itself, she’s also good at nailing the accents and it comes naturally for her.”

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Meryl and Charlie during Sunday's short dance competition, which received a record-breaking high score in the event. (Getty Images)
Meryl, you began as a singles skater, why did you decide to make the switch to ice dancing?
Meryl: “I think I was better at ice dancing than figure skating. But also Charlie and I were just so comfortable together and I never really wanted to skate without him.”
Charlie, you also played ice hockey as a kid, why did you ultimately choose ice dancing?Charlie: “I have a lot of passion for hockey … played until 18, but it came down to making a choice of what is truly my craft.  We realized around age 17 that we have a real future ice dancing.”
Meryl, how do you pick which costume to wear since you have multiple for each routine?
Meryl: “On a whim … sometimes the coach and I work together … I like options.”
What’s it like to have your moms with you at every competition?
Meryl: “It’s amazing to have their love and support and share this with them. Throughout this incredible journey they’ve ensured we had a great start to each day which enabled us to achieve at the highest level.”
Your accomplishments are going to inspire so many young athletes, who inspired you?
Meryl: “We were young when Kristi Yamaguchi won gold, but she’s such an inspiration … and it’s very exciting. We love that we get to be part of Team Kellogg’s with Kristi. It was so special that she was the one who surprised us with our Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box.”
You’re involved in a special program with Kellogg’s, can you tell us about that?Meryl: “It’s a really great program, one that we are proud to be a part of. Every athlete here has a different journey and story to tell. As members of Team Kellogg’s we’re sharing our ‘Give A Great Start’ story video to help provide kids in need with breakfast. Kellogg’s is always at the start of our day and we hope when people watch our video at that it can help give someone a great start to their day… a breakfast.”


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