With the 2014 Winter Olympics 100 days away, five metro Detroit ice dance teams are training all day every day to earn their chance to compete in Sochi, Russia.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White have skated together for 16 years. Both Davis and White were born and raised in Detroit and they train at the Arctic Edge of Canton.
This will be a return to the winter games for this duo who won the silver medal for ice dance at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. They are also five time U.S. Champions, and in 2011 they became the first American team to win the World Ice Dancing Championships.
At Skate America in Detroit in October, Davis and White won gold in the ice dance competition. The event is the official kick off to the Olympic season for figure skating.
"We just have so much more experience, you know, we've won worlds twice now, and obviously there is always a lot of highs, a lot of lows. We have the experience of an Olympic games already under our belt," said Charlie White.
Davis and White are very focused on not only returning to a second Olympics, but on winning a gold medal. The team has spent two years perfecting one of the lifts in their free program, and both put their college careers at the University of Michigan on hold for this year.
"We're training just as hard as ever, in fact, probably harder than in 2010," said White. "Our expectations are a bit higher, you know, we'll be shooting for gold instead of just trying to get on the podium."
Davis and White try not to let the pressure to succeed this year affect them.
"I think, definitely Charlie and I put a lot of pressure on ourselves and we always have. I definitely think the expectations are a lot greater going into these Olympic Games in terms of what other people expect from us, but we expect so much more out of ourselves, I think that we don't allow the expectations or outside pressures to play a huge role," said Davis.
There are four other ice dance teams training in metro Detroit that would like to make the US Olympic team alongside Davis and White. A total of three ice dance teams will compete for the U.S. in Sochi, Russia.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates train at the Skating Club of Novi. The duo has skated together since 2011. They won silver at nationals this year and are working with Igor Shpilband, the ice dance coach who trained Davis and White and other ice dancing greats.
Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani are a brother sister team that has skated together for 10 years. They also train at the Arctic Edge of Canton. The team won bronze at Skate America.
Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue began skating together in 2011 and are also making their first run for the Olympics. They just won bronze at Skate Canada and were U.S. bronze medalists in 2012.
Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti -Schmitt have been an ice dance team since 2006 and are another team to watch. They were 2012 U.S. pewter medalists. This year they began training at the Skating Club of Novi to work with coach Igor Shpilband to make changes that would make an impact on the audience and the judges.
These ice dance teams are competing at international events all over the world and will all compete at the national championships in Boston, MA in January. The three ice dance teams competing in Sochi, Russia will be announced at this event.