|"The Moms" supporting their kids at a figure skating competition.|
Meryl Davis and Charlie White have skated at each other’s side for 17 years.
All the while, their mothers, Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White, were at each other’s side, too.
Better known in the skating community as “The Moms,” Cheryl Davis and Jacqui White have traveled the world together, spent countless hours reviewing skating scores and costume fabrics and even shop at the same grocery store. Of course they were together in Sochi when their children became the first American team to win the Olympic ice dancing gold medal. Often times, they have spent more time with each other more than they have with their own spouses at events.
So it would make sense that The Moms would try to be together (as well as with their children) on Mother’s Day.
But this year Mother’s Day comes at a very hectic time. Ever since Meryl and Charlie made Olympic history, their schedules have been filled with planes, trains and automobiles as they are juggling both the Stars on Ice tour as well as national appearances on the hit TV show, “Dancing with the Stars.”
And that means The Moms have been especially busy, too. Their cell phones have been burning up as family and friends try to connect with their gold-medal winning kids. Even for The Moms, trying to catch a glimpse of their children on the ice and the dance floor has been a full-time job these days.
When asked about Mother’s Day, Jacqui laughed that she didn’t even know when the celebratory day was this year. She just has not had the time to worry about such things. After all, a mom has to keep busy casting “Dancing with the Stars” votes.
The Moms both planned to be in Southern California this Mother’s Day weekend although they might not be able to spend much time together or with their children. Jacqui planned to be in Anaheim, California, for the Stars on Ice tour stop Saturday and then planned to be in Los Angeles for another round of ballroom dancing in “Dancing with the Stars.”
Cheryl, meanwhile, said she was going to be in Santa Barbara over the weekend. Her son, Clayton, who is finishing up school in Colorado, is traveling to Santa Barbara, too, and then they plan to go to Los Angeles Monday to watch “Dancing with the Stars.”
But on Sunday, which is Mother’s Day, Meryl and Charlie will have to duck out a bit to perform in a Stars on Ice tour stop in San Jose, California.
At least The Moms have each other, but even for them, it’s an abrupt change for women who have been practically glued together all these years at skating competitions and practices. They do, however, make it a point to call each other and to meet for a group dinner when they are both in Los Angeles for the show.
“We are sometimes there (at DWTS) at the same time but we are going in different directions, and it feels very strange for me,” Jacqui said. “Everybody wants to go to the show and it takes up a bit of our time being the hostess.”
Jacqui said the show’s producers even have assigned seats for everyone with names on the backs of each chair so they can’t sit together as they have for years and years at skating competitions That’s because in the skating world their children were competing as a team. On the show, Meryl is teamed with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, while Charlie is dancing with partner Sharna Burgess.
“Maybe they want to make us look more like rivals,” Jacqui said with a laugh. “But they can’t make us be enemies.”
It’s quite a bit of a change from how they would watch skating competitions when The Moms had their routine pretty well established. Cheryl would sit on the right; Jacqui on the left. Cheryl would keep track of the results in a notebook and they would make sure to get together for a mid-day walk or a bite for lunch.
Ever since Meryl and Charlie were announced as competitors on the show, there were questions as to how they would take to going up against each other, and The Moms have heard the same questions, too. It is impossible to erase 17 years of family history. Not only have their kids competed together for that long, but the families live about 10 minutes apart in suburban Detroit and their whole worlds have been intertwined.
“I really believe they’re in this together,” Cheryl said. “They both want each other to do well and are happy for each other. You don’t spend 17 years together and not support each other.”
A TV show likely isn’t going to change that for The Moms, either. Recently The Moms were together when the Stars on Ice tour stopped in Joe Louis Arena in their hometown of Detroit, and they enjoyed the fact that they were able to see each other for a bit there.
“Everything has been so chaotic and so crazy that we kind of gravitate to each other for our own comfort zone,” Jacqui said. “I guess there is a still a feeling of competition now (with “Dancing with the Stars) but it’s in a different way. Technically, we’re competitors, but honestly, I feel like having Meryl and Charlie on the show just doubles my chances of winning.”
The “Dancing with the Stars” shows have served as skating reunions as well. Each week it seems there has been a who’s who of skating stars in the stands. Charlie has had his longtime girlfriend, Tanith Belbin, (a 2006 Olympic silver medalist herself) there for support. Others who have popped in include Kristi Yamaguchi, an Olympic skating gold medalist and a “Dancing with the Stars” champion and Olympic champion and show runner-up Evan Lysacek.
But their guest lists also have included skating officials who they have known over the years and family members. Charlie’s grandmother (Jacqui’s mom), Miriam Kreiman, who traveled to Sochi for the Winter Games, made the trek to Los Angeles for the show.
Meryl and Charlie have not formally announced plans to stop competing, but few expect them to take the ice for competitions. Yet their moms already have made plans to travel together to the 2015 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Even if their children won’t be skating there, The Moms said they plan to take their usual seats together in the stands to cheer on other teams.
“Jacqui and I are going to go to nationals, and we’ll be there behind all the U.S. teams,” said Cheryl Davis, noting that they have known so many skaters for so many years, especially since many of the top U.S. ice dance teams train in Detroit.
It will be different for The Moms, no doubt, if their kids are not skating competitively, but they will have their comfort zone together.
“We’ll be OK,” Cheryl Davis said with a laugh. “I don’t have any doubt.”
And they always will be proud of raising such successful children, on and off the ice.
When asked what their children might be able to give them for Mother’ s Day in a year when they already provided their mothers with such pride and joy — not to mention a gold medal — Jacqui said, “I feel very lucky. I have everything that matters. I’m not a terribly materialistic person, but when it comes to things that really matter, I have that in abundance.”
Amy Rosewater is a freelance writer and editor for TeamUSA.org. A former sports reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, she covered her fifth Olympic Games in Sochi. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.