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our lives were like in Sochi, I will call Alex to fill in the gaps. “Something that was important to us was tak- ing the time to document our experience for our- selves, as well as share it with Olympic fans all over the world,” Maia said. “We feel so lucky to have the support of so many people around the world who have followed our career, and it was import- ant for us to include them in those three wonderful weeks.” Back in the moment, Barb Reichert, the third member of our U.S. Figure Skating communica- tions team working in Sochi, squeezes my hand. She knows I’m nervous and excited and feeling many other emotions. “Renee, your hand is clammy!” “I know. Tat’s because I’m so nervous.” Te music begins and I hold my breath as

Meryl and Charlie go into their first lift — the one where he pulls her onto his back then spins her around his body before effortlessly releasing her back onto the ice. Check. Meryl tells me later, “Tere was a day a few

weeks ago when that lift just wouldn’t work and I thought, ‘You have to be kidding me. We have been working on this lift for three years. It’s gotten stronger and stronger and now two weeks before the Olympics we can’t do it.’” It surprises me to learn they have off days. Te rest of the program goes off without a

hitch, and we breathe easy after the twizzles have passed. “I’ve never skated and visualized the perfor- mance at the same time and tonight that’s kind of how it felt,” Meryl said. “It felt great.” What an amazing accomplishment to come

Davis and White set the tone with their effortless and free- flowing short dance to My Fair Lady. Their record-breaking score of 78.89 put the team from Michigan in the driver’s seat heading into the free dance.

seasons, the gold-medal race is between these De- troit-based training mates. Admittedly, Meryl and Charlie have the edge in head-to-head meetings in that span, but this is the Olympics and anything can happen.

What is so impressive about Meryl and Char- lie is their consistency. I think back to the times I have seen them make obvious mistakes. I vaguely recall one Skate America when Charlie fumbled a twizzle. I think it was 2012. Tey still easily won, but their stiffest competition wasn’t at that event. I know they aren’t perfect — they don’t always

get Level 4s — perhaps their edges aren’t always as deep as they could be. But when it comes down to it, Meryl and Charlie are always solid. Tey don’t mess up.

I hate to admit that as confident as I am that

this is their Olympic title to win, the thought creeps into my head — what if this is the time they have a mistake? Teir twizzles don’t sync up perfectly. Someone puts a foot down on a step se- quence. Tere is a costume malfunction. Te latter certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility. I stood in the interview area earlier in

12 APRIL 2014

the evening and heard Maia Shibutani tell the tale of how her tights caught on Alex’s jacket during their Michael Jackson free dance — a glitch that, while it didn’t cost them a placement, did cost them several points. Tankfully, they didn’t let the mishap define

their Olympics. It was a lot of fun to share the Olympic experience with Maia and Alex Shibu- tani. Of anyone on Team USA, they were argu- ably the most excited to be there. Tey filled their weeks in Sochi with meeting people, interviews, a trip to the mountains and, of course, a strong showing on the ice. “For us, we planned on making our time

in Sochi a celebration of the past 10 years of our skating partnership and the bond we have as sib- lings,” Alex said. “From the moment we arrived in Munich for team processing to when we departed Sochi, we immersed ourselves in the idea of living every moment and taking full advantage of every experience.”

Teir experience is no doubt well-document-

ed, with more than 500 pictures of the Opening Ceremony alone. If I ever need a reminder of what

to the Olympics and skate the best you ever have, to set world records and achieve American mile- stones along the way. “I felt like we had done everything we could

from the beginning of this competition, in prac- tice, the team event, this event,” White said. “Sev- enteen years of hard work were justified. To come

Davis and White bask in their Olympic moment in Sochi.



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