2014 Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White will be blogging about their journey off the competitive ice at TeamUSA.org as they take the 2014-15 season to explore other opportunities. "How To Do...Everything!" is White's first entry.
As Meryl and I prepared for a year with no competitive skating, the question “What are you going to do with yourselves?!” was asked by many, including ourselves. Well now that we’re in it I can answer this query with a simple answer - everything. And wow has everything been fun! We’ve had so many opportunities and met so many amazing people; living every day in the moment and (mostly) stress free has been a dream. Being able to look back and appreciate our accomplishments without yearning, and then to look forward into an unknown future without getting anxious is hard, but we’ve really found that space. But enough about that, let’s get on to some interesting details!
First we’ll rewind to the weekend of Skate America which took place in Chicago, Oct. 24-26. We went to the event as guests of AT&T for an autograph signing (thanks to everyone who came!), and got to stay for the excellent skating. However, that only touches upon the craziness captured in those few days. That Thursday I drove from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Chicago a little early to get in a game of drop-in hockey with fellow non-competing skater Rockne Brubaker. As he has no real means for a rebuttal we’ll say I schooled him. The next day, Friday, we watched the skating events followed by an amazing birthday dinner with Tanith, Meryl and her mom, my mom, and my good friend David Golden. On Saturday, I unfortunately could not make any of the skating events, but it was because I flew to Salt Lake City to dance with my “Dancing with the Stars” partner Sharna Burgess for a large corporate event!
Anyway, back to Skate America, we’ll get to the dancing in a second. Heading to the first big international skating competition of the year as spectators was a little weird for both Meryl and myself. There’s no way it’s been that long since the Olympics! We were obviously looking forward to the ice dance portion of the event, but every discipline had some really great skating. Having won the last four events we were hopeful an American team would step up and keep the streak alive! Thankfully we were not disappointed, in fact the U.S. had the top two finishes in the event: Madison Chock and Evan Bates came away with the gold, and Maia and Alex Shibutani with the silver. As the season moves forward we’ll be looking at these two to really carry the banner. What makes these teams special goes beyond their abilities as skaters, they are really wonderful people that you want to cheer for. So rest assured everyone, American ice dance is in good hands!
On to Salt Lake City! Sharna and I had not danced together once since we’d said our goodbyes at the end of our DWTS season. This led to a bit of trepidation on my part as the performance itself was that very day, giving us only a few hours to rehearse the two numbers we had chosen to do from the show. But wait! To our surprise we found out at the last seconds we actually had to do three numbers! Thankfully the scramble to assemble some appropriate outfits to dance in ended up being the most stressful part. Once Sharna and I started dancing together, all of the steps, moves and lifts came back very naturally. We performed “Let Her Go,” “Happy,” and “Stay With Me.” The crowd was quite raucous, which was wonderfully energizing and we had a great time dancing together again. It was good practice because we’ll be dancing together again soon when we do the “Shall We Dance on Ice” show in December (looking at you Bloomington, Illinois)! Sunday morning it was straight back to Chicago for the last day of competition, followed by a long drive back to Ann Arbor.
Lastly, I want to skip straight to the charity show we just performed in, Golden Moment, put on by Krisiti Yamaguchi and her Always Dream Foundation. Held in San Jose, California, this event assembled the most amazing cast Meryl and I have ever been a part of. With Kristi Yamaguchi and Brian Boitano headlining, you’re already pretty much set in terms of accolades, skating ability and general awesomeness. But to then throw in Dorothy Hamill, Katia Gordeeva, Ilia Kulik, Evan Lysacek, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, Yuka Sato, Jeremy Abbott, Gracie Gold, and Ryan Bradley! It’s just like, “What?! That’s insane!” What an honor to be able to join all of them on the ice. Plus it was for a great cause, one meant to inspire children through reading.
The show went beautifully, with amazing skating and inspirational messages conveyed throughout the evening. It was the kind of event that serves as a good reminder for the power, ability and calling we have as Olympians and role models. Meryl and I consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have some of the best role models in Brian and Kristi, and we hope to one day be able to inspire and motivate half as well as they can. So to anyone still reading this, I urge you, go check out www.alwaysdream.org. And if that’s not what you’re into, then find something else and let me or Meryl know what it is! We’re always looking to help generate interest and support for great causes!