Meryl & Charlie: Champions on the Ice, Superstars in Life
Watch Meryl Davis waltz, tango, lunge and spin across the ice, and you will understand why she is an Olympic Gold Medalist.
Talk with Davis and you will share experiences as you would with your best friend.
Down to earth may not be an attribute associated with celebrities, but just as Davis and her partner Charlie White set new standards on the ice, they are now redefining star status. Naturally beautiful as she runs off to class at the University of Michigan or glittering gorgeous in full makeup for a performance; her dark, thick hair flowing down her back for a television interview or pulled tight and up for a competition, Davis shines externally. She glows internally.
“I remember thinking Meryl was incredibly nice and very smart, but had absolutely no idea she was an Olympic¿caliber athlete. She never mentioned it!” says Amelia Eaton, a former classmate and creator of thechicagolifeblog. “Her modesty doesn’t surprise me, it just speaks to the genuinely sweet, sincere person she is.”
Davis and White are the first U.S. Ice Dancing Team to win an Olympic Gold Medal. The Gold Medal reinforced their reputations as outstanding athletes and earned them name recognition status. Working together since they were 10 years old, the duo is the longest¿running ice dance partnership in the history of U.S. figure skating.
“I fell in love with skating when I was about 5 years old, then ice dancing around 9,” Davis recalls. “The disciplines were a perfect blend, and I loved the emotional performances and range ice dancing allowed. I was really shy at that time of my life, but I was not embarrassed to go out and perform. I just always loved ice dancing and can’t imagine not doing it.”
Davis grew up in a suburb of Detroit. Asked about family sacrifices, Davis does not hesitate a second. “Absolutely there were sacrifices,” she says. “It was very expensive for my family and a big time commitment.” Even at a young age, Davis had to make the choice to pass up birthday parties and sleepovers to practice at the rink.
“We all put a lot into my training,” she continues. “I am incredibly lucky that my family supported me.” Davis describes her mom, a special education teacher, as an “amazing” woman who traveled with her when she was 15 or 16 years old so she wouldn't be alone on the road. “My mom has always been there for me,” Davis says. “She has definitely been the person I've looked to for guidance.” Davis says her mom and dad are different, each with unique insights and outlooks. “Lucky me that I have not just loving parents, but wise ones, too,” she says.
Davis stays in shape with a commitment to clean eating and fitness. “In training, diet is especially critical,” she says. “I do eat pretty clean. I have naturally gravitated to the foods that keep me healthier.”
Davis and White follow similar eating patterns, with emphasis on protein and carbohydrates and an overall balanced diet that includes chicken, rice and vegetables.
Davis generally begins a training day with whole grain toast and an egg seasoned with pepper, honey and lemon. Hydration is vital. She brings a set of snacks that may include Greek yogurt, granola, blueberries, a flax seed muffin and a banana. “Sometimes I have chocolate covered with honey. You definitely need chocolate at the end of the day.”
Cleansing is an occasional activity, but Davis does not take it to the extreme. She tends to purchase a three¿day cleanse, spreading it out over six days interspersed with fresh fruit and nuts.
When she is not preparing for performances, Davis works with a treadmill, weights and core strengthening exercises. “I want to make sure my body is ready for anything now and in the future.”
Relaxing is also essential. Bubble baths, lighting candles and sitting down with a fantasy novel end her day. “My dad introduced me to literature. Mythology and books, such as the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones series, are favorites,” Davis says.
Soon, Davis will earn a degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan. “I followed my dad’s advice to ‘major in what I loved.’ I’m hoping to be in the media, with an international concentration,” she says. “That would be a great combination with an anthropology degree and my travel experiences.”
Meanwhile, Davis and White have collaborated on a children’s book about ice dancers. Both acknowledge their responsibility to give back while serving as role models. Davis is developing a foundation to inspire others with a commitment to family, community, hard work and determination.
Davis and White were recognized with the 2015 Thurman Munson Award, presented to athletes who achieve success on the playing field and in philanthropic efforts off the field. The two were singled out for their work with Classroom Champions, a mentoring program for students that fosters goal setting, relationships, perseverance and leadership.
It’s impossible to talk to Davis without asking the big question: Will she compete in the next Winter Olympics? She answers patiently. “That’s a big decision. We do feel that we achieved our goal by winning the Gold Medal. We will make a decision in the next year or so.”
Copyright © 2015, The Morning Call
Posted by Grace Labels: miscellaneous
So that movie The Cutting Edge, where D.B. Sweeney plays a hockey star who later competes in the Olympics as one half of an ice skating pair, is totally unrealistic, right? Not entirely. Because about a decade ago outside Detroit, Charlie White helped his high school hockey team win the state championship. Flash forward to Sochi, Russia last year, and he’s standing atop the podium, with partner Meryl Davis, as an Olympic ice dancing gold medalist.
The two-time World champ went on to make a helluva run on Dancing with the Stars with partner Sharna Burgess, then proved to be the Chazz Michael Michaels of the US team, if you will, when he tied the knot with Canadian-American ice dancing beauty Tanith Belbin this past spring.
You could say he knows a thing or two about success, much of which he attributes to those around him. We caught up with White at the Road to Rio event in Boston during the Head of the Charles Regatta, to learn his secrets.
“A lot of the judges and competitors said we were too small; we were never going to go anywhere in a sport dominated by long-legged people. Clearly, that’s not us. That was never going to be us. But we loved it and we never let that get in the way.”
On overcoming challenges:I grew up when Mighty Ducks had just come out. I got into hockey, and I started basic skills in figure skating, and so I did both at the same time. I just loved being on the ice, and it’s a completely different feeling from anything else you could do. [Meryl and I] started off, and we didn’t speak to each other for about three years, we were both too shy. We had a blast improving and just being on the ice. We never got tired of it, we never got sick of it and we ran into a lot of obstacles. A lot of the judges and competitors said we were too small; we were never going to go anywhere in a sport dominated by long-legged people. Clearly, that’s not us. That was never going to be us. But we loved it and we never let that get in the way. We just kept enjoying ourselves day in and day out and proved that we had something to offer in the sport.
On teamwork:What we love about ice dancing is the ability to combine that athleticism that is inherent obviously in hockey with the artistic side—being able to tell a story, especially when you have a partner; you’re able to create a relationship with the music, the storyline and convey a message that’s powerful. I think we both just got hooked on that. It wasn’t always our strongest point, but we fell in love with it. We worked on it and worked on it until we could truly say, especially with these last Olympics, that we had mastered it.
On partnership:There are a lot of different experiences that you go through that sort of allow you to handle challenges in your life. Having someone to go through it with makes your life so much easier, and being able to be respectful and understanding and empathetic of the people around you, it just—no matter what you’re going through, no matter what part of your life you’re in—is going to make your life more enjoyable; it’s going to be easier; you’re not going to be wasting so much energy. And, thankfully, our parents really harped on this at a young age and made sure that we went out into the world as respectful people, and that helped us to really create a bond that strengthened our partnership on and off the ice and allowed us to be one of the very few teams in the world to stay together since the beginning.
On the importance of a good night’s sleep:Going through college and being around everyone who never gets enough sleep, you really feel the difference. We were so lucky to be able to partner with a company like airweave that is so focused on allowing you to get your best sleep so you can come out fighting and be the best version of yourself. That’s always been our philosophy—whether it’s how we train, how we eat, how we sleep—how do you be the best version of yourself? Sometimes you can’t do it by yourself, and that’s where amazing companies like airweave come in. In the United States, we don’t have the government fund the USOC or the athletes directly. It all comes from amazing [sponsors] that make our Olympic dreams possible. It’s so worth mentioning because they take on a huge supporting role in what we’re able to accomplish.
On being the best you can be:Be able to run into challenges and overcome them and believe in yourself. And sometimes you don’t overcome them and you get knocked down, and you have to figure out a way to kind of kick back a little bit. You need people to be there to help you figure that out. Now you have momentum and now you have a habit and an idea of how you can get to where you want to go. And having a community and teamwork, taking on responsibilities and setting goals for yourself—through school, through sports, through your passion as you come up through the years—that will help you become a more productive and happier person.
Read more: http://www.mademan.com/olympic-champ-charlie-whites-success-secrets/#ixzz3qU2HVHGS
Posted by Grace Labels: charlie
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