By CHARLIE WHITE, 2014 OLYMPIC ICE DANCE CHAMPION | FEB. 09, 2015, 3:51 P.M. (ET)
The U.S. Figure Skating Championships have come and gone! Meryl and I had the pleasure of not only attending the event, but also contributing ever so slightly with a bit of commentary work. I can also comfortably say that even though we didn’t compete, this was absolutely one of my favorite national championships!
First and most importantly, the skating was “redonk” (short for “redonkulous” and what I assume the kids say these days when what they really mean is “rad”). There’s always the concern that everyone will have a bit of a hangover the year after the Olympic Games, but 2015 is here and that fear suddenly seams unreasonable. If anything, the competitors seemed energized and more excited than ever coming into this fresh four-year cycle. The jumps seemed cleaner, the footwork better, the dancing more passionate! I really felt rewarded as a longtime fan of figure skating getting to see so much excellence.
Of course the ice dance event holds a special place in my heart, and having the honor of doing the commentary on Ice Network was a dream. The high level of skating made my job easy, and being able to give some insight into what made each team special and unique was so much fun. Going into the event I wasn’t sure how critical I was going to be of the skating, but by the end I realized I’m a huge softie! I think because I recognize just how difficult of a sport it is, I feel more comfortable emphasizing the positive aspects of every program as opposed to finding things to nitpick. On top of that, I always enjoy it more as a spectator when the commentators more or less stay out of the way.
Another special experience Meryl and I shared at the championships came when we had the opportunity to have an hour-long chat with the young up-and-coming skaters. Often times when we speak at events we’re really just looking to inspire and show the universal appeal and application of the lessons we’ve learned along our journey. In this instance, however, speaking to a room full of kids that totally speak our skating language, we were able to touch on some very specific skating-related challenges and lessons we learned that were critical to our success. It may not have been the most exciting hour of their lives, but dang it we made sure to stuff them so full of advice they’d have to remember some of it! We certainly have a lot of bright and talented young skaters coming up in the U.S. and we feel very responsible for helping them.
Unfortunately we were unable to stay for the whole championships, but don’t feel too bad — we only had to miss the end because we got to go to the Sundance Film Festival (!!!). Our sponsor Visa brought us out for a chance to have a little meet and greet and then enjoy some movies (thanks Visa). Dare I say we were everywhere we wanted to be!
For my next blog I’m hoping to field some questions, so if you could tweet your best questions to me at @CharlieAWhiteor @USOlympic, I’d love to give some in-depth answers on anything you might be curious about!