Meryl Davis & Charlie White: "Our training atmosphere is really ideal"

Interview by Vladislav Luchianov

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the 2009 U.S.,Grand Prix Final and Four Continents champions. Won the silver at the 2008 U.S. Championships and the bronze at the 2007 event. Took the bronze at the 2008 Grand Prix Final. Are the 2006 U.S. junior champions and the 2006 World Junior bronze medalists. Missed the bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships by 04 points.Are the longest-tenured U.S. ice dancing team, having been together since 1998. Were coached by Seth Chafetz from 1997-2005. Current coaches are Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband.

Meryl Davis started skating at age 5 on a lake near her house. Started in the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program at the same age. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa from and was a member of the Principal’s Honor Roll at Wylie E. Groves High School, from which she graduated on June 5, 2005. Attends the University of Michigan and is studying anthropology and Italian. Mother is a retired school teacher and father is a lawyer. Has a younger brother, Clayton. Hobbies include reading and traveling. Favorite city to which she’s traveled for skating is Vienna, Austria, because “it is such a beautiful, elegant city”.

After her skating career, would like to continue her education and travel the world. Would like to meet President Obama because “he has so much power, intellect and possibility”. Has a passion for travel, foreign languages, learning about new cultures and music. Volunteers at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

Charlie White began skating at the age of three. Participated in the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program from 1994-96.Is the youngest of five children. Parents own D & W Oil Company in Detroit, Mich. Has had success as a singles skater, qualifying for the U.S. Championships as a junior in 2006. Likes to play hockey, read, watch movies and hang out with friends. Favorite place to which he’s traveled for skating is Tokyo, Japan, because of “how different the culture is”. Attends the University of Michigan.

After his skating career, would like to go into law .Has a passion for school and all kinds of sports, especially hockey. Played on a state championship hockey team. Would like to meet Tiger Woods “to find out what makes him so great”. Played in a string quartet in high school. Listens to all kinds of music (except country). Something not many people know about him is he collects books.

VLAD: Thank you Meryl and Charlie for this opportunity to talk to you! It’s such an honor for me and my edition! In the first place I’d like to congratulate you on your excellent performance at the Grand Prix Final. It was really brilliant!

MERYL/CHARLIE: Thank you! We are glad to accept your offer.

VLAD: You started figure skating when you were a children. Can you think back to that period?

MERYL: I have no memory of my first experiences on the ice, but I have seen many videos of my early days in skates and I would say utter joy would describe the effects that experience had on me as a five-year-old. I remember the same feeling as I got older, and more involved in skating. I think, for me, there is no question that I fell in love with the sport immediately.

CHARLIE: When I first started skating, all I could really do was walk; however, as soon as I learned the basics, all I wanted to do was go as fast as possible.

VLAD: What moment was the most amazing in learning figure skating in your childhood?

MERYL: As an ice-dancer it may seem odd, but my most memorable childhood learning experience on the ice is when I began landing my double axel. I would not change a thing about the path my skating career has taken, but the immediate satisfaction of nailing a jump is something I miss about my free-style days.

CHARLIE: I would have to say the first time I landed a single axle. It was such a thrill after putting in a lot of work.

VLAD: Your skating is a great combination of mastery,artistry,beauty and many others wonderful things. How do you make it?

MERYL: Charlie and I are always very flattered when people compliment our skating, not only because it’s always nice to receive compliments, but because our skating is really us. We’ve always tried to stay true to who we are, on and off the ice, and though we have learned many things from so many talented skaters that have surrounded us over the years, we take pleasure in exploring where we want to take our own skating and embracing our personal style and strengths. Additionally, we owe a lot to our amazing coaches, past and present.

Our first coach, Seth Chafetz brought us a long way and taught us a lot about hard work and dedication. Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband have been our coaches for years now, and we feel that they have really enhanced our skating and love for the sport. Both Marina and Igor are so talented and passionate about skating, the technique and artistry combined, that it is a true joy to work with them, and we feel very blessed.

VLAD: About how much time does your training take you in a week?

MERYL: Charlie and I skate about 4 hours per day, 5 days per week, so 20 hours per week. We also do ballet 2 hours per week and off-ice conditioning 4.5 hours per week. In total, we train about 27 hours per week.

VLAD: You increase steadily in your mastery. Who is your main inspirer?

MERYL/CHARLIE: Our training atmosphere is really ideal. Marina and Igor are not only great coaches but also great trainers. Both of our coaches motivate and inspire us on a daily basis. In addition, our training mates play a huge role in our career. We are so lucky to train with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who are such talented skaters and great friends. Along with Tessa and Scott, we have a great team of skaters in Canton, who really support and motivate one another.

VLAD: There is a lot of great music for the skaters. How do you choose yours?

MERYL/CHARLIE: When choosing music, we like to take our time and consider many variables. The process varies every year, for example we chose our 2008/2009 Free Dance music immediately upon Marina’s suggestion as well as our Original Dance theme this (the 2009/2010) season.

After deciding on our theme for our OD this year, we went to an Indian Folk dancer for help with our music selections. Our FD music choice this season was a bit more challenging, but after listening to a lot of music, we decide that Phantom of the Opera had qualities that would help us take our skating where we wanted to take it this year.

VLAD: You are the current US champions. What’s it like to be the first in your own country?

MERYL: Being the 2009 National Champions is very rewarding. Charlie and I have been together since 1997 and have really put a lot of work in and gotten a lot of enjoyment out of our sport. Being recognized in your own country is something special, though, and we’re very grateful to have the support and opportunity to achieve our goals.

VLAD: The US Nationals and the Olympics are on the doorstep. What do you think about it?

MERYL: Nationals and Olympics are approaching and we’re doing everything we can do to prepare ourselves on a daily basis. Charlie and I have always liked taking things one day at a time, though and our coaches remind us that we need to approach this year just like we do any other year- stay focused and dedicated, and the rest is out of our control.

CHARLIE: We’re heading into Nationals and hopefully the Olympics the same way we go to every competition. We’re just looking to go and skate our best, and let our skating speak for itself.

VLAD: What is your main dream in your life and in the figure skating?

MERYL: The most rewarding experiences in figure skating, for me, are putting out those performances we all work so hard for and hope to achieve. At worlds in Los Angeles, Charlie and I skated our Free Dance just as we hoped we would and we were overwhelmed by the audience’s reaction and support. It is moments like those that mean so much. What we leave out on the ice, as skaters, is really all that we can control and there’s nothing better than getting off the ice with a stadium full of people on their feet.

CHARLIE: It would be a dream to medal at the Olympics, it’s such a pinnacle of our sport.

VLAD: Who is your favorite in the history of the figure skating?

MERYL: There have been so many talented skaters throughout history and I hate to say that I don’t have a favorite, but I really couldn’t possibly pick just one.

CHARLIE: I was a huge fan of Todd Eldredge. We trained at the same rink when he was very successful. And he was just the nicest guy, I really thought that was cool.

VLAD: Meryl, Charlie, thank you very much for the interview! It was very nice to talk to you! I wish you good health,great performance at the U.S.Nationals and we’ll be waiting for your amazing skating at the Olympics!

MERYL/CHARLIE: Thank you very much,Vladislav!

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