Meryl Davis has traveled the world to compete in ice dance, but she is grateful her training keeps her close to home and her family.
The West Bloomfield native trains at the Arctic Edge of Canton with her ice dance partner of 17 years, Charlie White.
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"My parents live 1/2 an hour away from me still and they've been such an integral part of our career, Charlie's and mine. Charlie's parents as well. I think of all things, a support system is really, perhaps, is where we're most fortunate," said Davis.
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Davis and White have skated together for 17 years. They are six-time US Figure Skating Champions, in 2011 they became the first American ice dance team to win the World Ice Dancing Championships. They won the world title again in 2013.
Davis graduated high school with her class, but because of her ice dance career, college is taking her a little longer.
She has taken classes for her degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Michigan for seven years. Despite the demands of her ice dancing, she has tried to make the very most of her college education.
"I took maybe two classes per semester and I did join a sorority and really tried to do college the way I always wanted to do it," said Davis. "I accumulated this wonderful circle of friends that I am very close with, but they graduated in the normal progression of things and I still at 26, happen to be a junior. So you know, they moved away and kind of went off doing their own thing and it's hard to have everybody on kind of that normal path and you kind of have to pave your own."
Davis and White, who also attends the University of Michigan, took this year off to focus solely on her ice dancing season and the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Davis lives in Plymouth, Mich., and earlier in the season invited Tara Lipinski into her home. Lipinski, an Olympic gold medalist for women's figure skating, is on special assignment for Local 4 during the winter games.
"Charlie and I have talked a lot about taking things year by year. We're so lucky that we've been on the same page with education, skating our families all these years and so I think we feel really confident in just being able to sit down after the Olympics and talk about what we want to do whether it is to continue competing or do shows so we will kind of figure that out after the games," Davis said.
Family remains a big priority for Davis, she spends a lot of time with her parents and grandparents. Davis is very private, but did share with Lipinski that she is in a relationship.
"I do have a boyfriend. I like to keep it more private," said Davis. "He is very understanding. He understands the sport really well and he has a great respect for what it is I do, which I so appreciate."
Lipinski learned that Davis enjoys spending time outside when she is not training inside the ice arena in Canton.
"I just love being outside," Davis told Lipinski. "As you know being in the rink, you know, no windows, you're kind of in this little hole kind of for hours and hours a day so when you leave or when you go to the rink and it's dark and when you leave in the winter it's sometimes dark again, it's a little bit confusing for your body. So to be able to spend time on the weekends outside and get a chance to soak in some of that vitamin D, I think that is really important."
Davis said she wants to finish her degree in cultural anthropology and possibly continue on to graduate school. She is also interested in living somewhere else for a couple years, possibly Italy or New York, but said Detroit will always be home.
Seven metro Detroiters will be competing for US Figure Skating. In addition to Meryl Davis and Charlie White are two other ice dance teams; Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani. Jeremy Abbott will be in the men's figure skating competition.