We recently announced that Olympic Champion ice dancers, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, will give the command “Start your engines!” as Grand Marshals at this year’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17th. Today, Meryl and Charlie answer our questions about their training, the race and their favorite things to do in Pure Michigan!
How did you get started in ice dancing?
Charlie: I started figure skating and playing hockey at age 5. I started ice dance specifically because I was figure skating too much like a hockey player, and I needed to work on the basics.
Meryl: I started ice-dancing when Charlie’s coach at the time asked if I would be interested in trying-out with Charlie. I hadn’t danced before and didn’t know much about the sport. I was nine.
Have you done any of your training in Michigan? If so, where?
Meryl and Charlie: We’ve always trained in Michigan. We started at the Detroit Skating Club, and we now train at the Canton Arctic Edge.
What do you love most about training in Michigan?
Charlie: The atmosphere is very conducive for working hard, and I think that’s something Michigan really prides itself on. Michigan is the place to be if you are a competitive figure skater!
Meryl: We’re so lucky to train in Michigan. Not only do we have access to the world’s best coaching and facilities, but we’re able to stay close to home. It’s so rare to have such world class opportunities right in one’s own back yard!
What is your favorite thing to do in Michigan when you’re not training?
Charlie: My fiancée and I are huge fans of the parks here. We love to take our dog on long walks or go kayaking - there’s so much to do.
Meryl: I love getting outdoors! No matter the time of year, there’s always something special to see around Michigan. Summers are particularly special as I grew-up on a lake and love spending days on the boat with my family.
Name one thing that fans might be surprised to learn about you.
Charlie: I’m a huge sci-fi and fantasy geek!
What advice would you give to any beginning athletes out there?
Charlie: Whatever you’re doing, make it fun. Because training is always going to be hard, but if it’s fun it makes it so much easier!
Meryl: As an athlete, one’s support team is vital. Still, I think the best advice I can give is to listen to yourself; your dreams, your goals and your dedication have to be your own.
What about serving as Grand Marshals of the Pure Michigan 400 are you most looking forward to?
Charlie: We love being able to represent Michigan across the world, but we especially cherish the opportunities to celebrate Michigan with our fellow Michiganders!
Meryl: Charlie and I are so excited to have the opportunity to experience new things! We’ve been busy representing our state on the world and Olympic stages, so getting to come home and make memories with our friends and family is truly special.
Where is your favorite Pure Michigan getaway destination?
Charlie: We made it to Petoskey for my fiancées birthday in July and so far I think that’s definitely our favorite destination so far. But wet looking forward to exploring even more.
Meryl: I love Good Hart (outside of Harbor Springs).
What does Pure Michigan mean to you?
Charlie: Pure Michigan is everything that makes Michigan special. There is so much to offer here, and Pure Michigan is such a great way to highlight the amazing opportunities some may otherwise miss out on!
Meryl: Pure Michigan means home; it means getting back to my roots and enjoying the simple beauty our state has to offer.
Watch Meryl and Charlie take NASCAR driver Austin Dillon for a spin on the ice in the video below and catch them at the Pure Michigan 400 at MIS this Sunday, August 17, 2014!