Olympic Winter Games

Inside the Games: U.S. ice dance notebook

Ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White nearly perfected their programs en route to winning a second consecutive national title at the 2010 U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash. The Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, are the time for perfection.

“We haven’t changed our routine for our free dance or O.D.,” Davis said Friday at a press conference. “We’ve been working tremendously hard perfecting things, making sure that we’re really loving the program and getting into it so we can really get the audience to enjoy what we’re doing.”

Davis and White have also given attention to the Tango Romantica, the compulsory dance for the Olympics. The duo also performed it en route to two gold medals on the Grand Prix.

“Heading into Nationals, we really made sure that we were focusing on our Compulsory Dance, which was the golden waltz,” Davis said. “So heading into the Olympics, we really wanted to focus on tango. We worked with Elena Tchaikovskaya, who is the creator of the dance, for a few days and we wanted to get her feedback on what she thought and what her intention was when she created the dance. We’re really thrilled and excited to be working with her. We feel really confident coming in.”

Former Soviet Champion single skaters Tchaikovskaya, who retired from competition in 1960, created the Tango Romantica in 1974. Since 1997, she served as the primary coach for the Russian Olympic Committee.

“She flew to Detroit for a couple days and both [Tessa Virtue] and Scott [Moir] and Charlie and I worked with her extensively on the tango,” Davis said. It was really thrilling because, like our coaches, she has a lot of knowledge on the dance. But being the creator, she’s the ultimate authority. So there’s no questioning her. She knows exactly what she’s talking about. When she gives you a tip on the style, the timing, anything, you take exactly what she says and you do it. It was a really exciting experience and we’re so excited to have that under our belts.”

• Davis and White are familiar with 2009 World Championship medalists Virtue and Moir of Canada, having trained with them everyday for years leading up to the Olympics. “We love training with them everyday,” White said. “It’s a real blessing to be able to have such an amazing team there training with us. They’re such good skaters and good people and good friends. We’ve come a long way with them. We’ve been competing against them for a long time so we know what they’ve been through and vice versa. So to be here at the Olympics with them is really a blast. We consider ourselves very fortunate.”

• Reigning Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto arrived in Vancouver early Friday morning because their travel plans were negatively affected by weather. “It’s great to be here first off. Maybe we got the hardest part of this whole experience out of the way,” Agosto said. “We were hit in Philadelphia with several feet of snow. While we were able to plow our way to the rink to get on our practices, we were probably booked on 12 different flights in the last couple days with flights being canceled or delayed. But we made it. We spent the night in LA last night and got here this morning. It worked out fine. We really wanted to be here for the Opening Ceremonies and we’re really excited to be here and be a part of this great team.

• All three U.S. ice dance teams have trained long-term in Michigan, although Belbin and Agosto relocated to Aston, Pa., in 2008. “We are very lucky to grow up in the hotbed of ice dance,” Evan Bates aid. “I never had to move from my home. Emily [Samuelson] just lived 45 minutes down the road. I’ve been so lucky. We both go to school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. I’ve had everything fall into place for me here.


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