Jan 11, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Meryl Davis and Charlie White perform during the Free Dance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

On to Sochi: Michigan ice dancers should excel at Winter Olympic Games

Jan 11, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Award Ceremony for Meryl Davis and Charlie White (Middle); Madison Chock and Evan Bates (Left); Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (Right) after the Free Dance at the TD Garden.  Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s Note: This is the first of an ongoing series of articles, looking at some of the more obscure Michigan  sports. Titled “All Things  Michigan” we’ll delve further into what might happen on the volleyball court, wrestling mat or even the soccer pitch. There are unlimited human interest stories all over the campus, especially if you’ve ever participated in the Mud Bowl.  We welcome all ideas which might help Wolverine fans get to the games.  Simply comment below this article, or jump onto the message to start the conversation (no calculus questions, please).

You’ve probably crossed paths with one of these ice dancers and never stopped to look.  They’re not tall like Coach John Beilein’s basketball stars, and for sure there are no football players in the group.

Even though they bustle around Ann Arbor like the rest of the students, they are about to embark on a journey which could vault them into instant stardom.

Five of the six members of the U.S. Olympic Skating Dance Team have either trained, schooled, or lived on Michigan’s campus.

Of the three “pairs” of dance skaters, Meryl Davis and Charlie White have the best chance at prominence since they took the silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter games.

Gold for Davis/White?

Based on winning the recent 2013 world championships, Davis and White might be slight favorites over the Canadian team of Tessu Virtue and Scott Moir, who won the Gold Medal in Vancouver. Ironically, the Canadian pair train along side Davis and White in Canton.

A veteran ice dancing team of 17 years, Virtue and Moir know that a slip here and a fall there could certainly alter the outcome. Winning at home is one thing, winning in Russia is another.  ”

It’s going to be a very different Games,” Moir told The Star Sunday, “Strictly in reference to participating as Olympic veterans, on Russian ice rather than in front of a rapturous home crowd. Part of our process is to kind of start brand new and not expect it to be Vancouver.”

Davis and White, who began skating together in 1997, see a huge opportunity in Sochi.

“Obviously we’re going into these games with very high expectations,” White said. “We’ve had a lot of great momentum over the last four years since the 2010 Games. We feel like we’ve put ourselves in a really great position to come home with a gold medal.”

Siblings Compete

The brother and sister pair of Alex and Maia Shibutani attended Huron High School and both became U-M undergrads.

They’ve skated as a team since 2003, with their best season coming in 2010-11. The Shibutanis finished second in the U.S. Nationals and third in the Worlds.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who now train in Novi, have been partners since Bates skated with Emily Samuelson at the Vancouver games.

 

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer

 

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