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Road to Sochi/Meryl Davis and Charlie White

(News Senior Sports Columnist Jerry Sullivan is profiling U.S. athletes leading up to the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, which begin Feb. 7)

 

Davis and White, the reigning world and national ice dancing champions, are the United States' best hope for a gold medal in figure skating. A dance team since their childhood days, they have won their last 11 competitions and are unbeaten in the last 22 months. They have won six straight U.S. titles and won Olympic silver in 2010. In 2011, they became the first American ice dancers to win the world title.

They're the favorites, but should get a good test from Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the defending gold medalists. Virtue and Moir are rivals and good friends of the Americans. They share the same Detroit training facility and Russian-born coach. Virtue and Moir won silver at last year's worlds. The battle between the world's top two teams should be one of the highlights of the Games.

Davis and White, who are both 27, grew up 10 minutes apart in Royal Oak, Mich. Davis began skating at age 5 and took up ice dancing at 8. White, who played hockey as a boy, took up ice dancing to help his skating and reluctantly became her dance partner 15 years ago. She suffered from dyslexia and played the flute. He had asthma and played violin. Both are juniors at the University of Michigan.

Known for their speed, dazzling lifts and intricate choreography, Davis and White are the world record-holders for the short, free and combined programs. They're the longest-standing American ice dance team ever. Their Olympic free skate, which will be on Feb. 17, will be to "Scheherazade," by Russian composer Rimsky-Korsakov.

"Having our sixth title and being able to go to these Olympic Games next to our friends and training mates, we really are blessed," White said. "Obviously, we're going into these Games with very high expectations. We've had a lot of great momentum over the last four years since the 2010 Olympics, and we think we've put ourselves in a great position to bring home a gold medal."

 

 

 

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