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U.S. makes history with gold, bronze medals

For the fi rst time in Olympic history, a

United States ice dance team stands at the top of the medal podium. Meryl Davis and Charlie White, six-time and reigning U.S. champions and two-time and reigning World champions, added the most coveted title to their glori- ous résumé by winning the gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Their most prestigious accomplishment

comes 38 years after ice dance made its Olym- pic debut in Innsbruck, Austria. In that time, the U.S. had earned one bronze (1976, Colleen


O’Conner/Jim Millns) and two silver medals (2006, Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto and 2010, Davis/White) in 10 Olympic Winter Games. The Michigan natives, who have skated

together for 17 years in the Detroit suburbs, performed two beautiful, strong and fl awless programs in Sochi, earning a record 195.52 points, 4.53 points more than their train- ing mates and defending Olympic champi- ons, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada. U.S. team leaders Kathy Slack and John

Millier enjoyed front-row seats for this historic accomplishment. “I don’t know if we can explain the hap-

piness we felt,” Slack said. “There were tears of happiness and pride for these two athletes, who are the epitome of athletes and sports- manship.

“Hearing our national anthem with Meryl

and Charlie on top of that podium — just the thought back to that moment brings tears to my eyes.” Millier said it was fun watching the Team

USA contingent — sitting just a few feet away — cheering for Davis and White after their free dance.

“I remember so well look-

Above, Team USA walks in the Open- ing Ceremony. Right, Meryl Davis displays her Olympic gold medal.

10 APRIL 2014

ing up to see our team cele- brating as though they them- selves had won,” Millier said. “I could not have been more proud of that group as they showed the fi nest example of team spirit and patriotism I could have hoped for.” Millier, a former ice dancer

and fi xture behind the scenes during Davis and White’s remarkable career, said he kept thinking about all of the people back home who he wished were in Sochi to celebrate the monumental achievement. “There were so many colleagues who

have worked hard and supported not only Meryl and Charlie but the U.S. ice dance pro- gram as a whole, who I knew were watching and who all deserved to share in that mo- ment,” he said. Another signifi cant moment took place at

the beginning of the Games when Team USA captured the bronze medal in the inaugural Team Event. The competition was riveting, with each individual and team performance worth key points toward the fi nal outcome. Team USA demonstrated a strong bond

throughout the event and the Games. “They skated with a diff erent kind of pur-

pose, as well as pressure, and to see them on the podium all together was amazing,” Millier said. “It’s probably the best medal ceremony I’ve ever seen.” Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner, Jeremy Ab-

bott and Jason Brown represented the team in the singles events, Marissa Castelli and Si- mon Shnapir and Davis and White led the way in pairs and ice dance. “Watching the USA team athletes appear

on stage to receive their bronze medals was one of my favorite moments,” Slack said. “That was such an exciting night, one I’ll never for- get.”


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