Davis and White seek gold finale

Fri Feb 7, 2014 5:02pm EST
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By Pritha Sarkar

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - When a nine-year-old Meryl Davis was first told to hold hands with an eight-year-old Charlie White and look deeply into his eyes while holding his gaze - just thinking about it left her blushing and tongue-tied.

However, it was just as well it did not take her long to overcome the embarrassment because an adventure that began rather tentatively in 1997 can culminate with a glittering finale on February 17 as Davis and White are favorites to become the first American ice dancers to win Olympic gold.

While Davis could still recall their first meeting as if it were yesterday, White's memories of that first 'dance date' are not as gushing.

"I definitely remember feeling awkward looking into Charlie's eyes, and having to hold hands with a boy at that age was a little awkward," Davis told Reuters in an interview as her partner started laughing.

"We were so young, and I in particular was really shy when we were that age. We didn't have witty banter going back and forth at the ages of eight and nine. It took us a couple of years before we developed a personal relationship."

White added: "Honestly, we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we first started ice dancing. We both were single skaters and loved the sport.

"I had been doing solo dance for a little while just to work on my technique. So I was a little bit ahead of Meryl when we first tried out and I remember being kind of annoyed that I had to take a step back to try out with her."

It is just as well White decided get over his irritation as their alliance has brought them unprecedented success and made them the United States' main gold medal hope in figure skating at the Black Sea resort.   Continued...

Ice dance gold medallists Meryl Davis and Charlie White (R) skate during an exhibition event at the conclusion of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, Massachusetts January 12, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder