2014 Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White will be blogging about their journey off the competitive ice at TeamUSA.org as they take the 2014-15 season to explore other opportunities. "Open Doors" is Davis' first entry.
One of the most unique aspects of the Olympic Games is having the opportunity to spend time with the many athletes representing different sports, all with very different and inspiring stories to tell. On the rare occasions we athletes are able to convene outside the Games, I’m always taken aback by the courage and strength of the people around me. Such was very much the case at the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Annual Salute to Women in Sports just last week.
This was my first time attending an event with the Women’s Sports Foundation but certainly not my last. Being nominated for this year’s Sportswoman of the Year - team sport award, I was lucky enough to have my dashing partner and “teammate” attend with me. Charlie, always a good sport, even braved an otherwise all-female dinner with me the night before the main event. Towards the end of that evening’s dinner, I had the honor of chatting with a small group of women including Michelle Kwan, Angela Ruggiero and Amy Purdy. Though I’d previously prepared a speech for the following evening, my conversation with these three, special women prompted a rewrite. It was important for me, I felt, to address the “next step” we four had spoken of.
As Charlie and I take this season away from competition, I found this topic to have particular personal relevance. While the foundation itself seeks to advance “the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity,” neither the lessons we learn nor the progress we make as individuals are left on the field. Having the opportunity to speak with these women — my own role models — I better understood in what ways this type of involvement opens doors for women and girls.
At present, I find myself often contemplating that “next step” and what doors might be open to me. What do I want to explore? What skills do I want to pursue beyond my academic aspirations? Though the unknown is certainly intimidating, I look to the example set by some of the amazing women who joined me last Wednesday at the annual salute.
Charlie and I certainly feel fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a variety of events. This weekend, we’ll be joining U.S. Figure Skating and AT&T at 2014 Skate America in Chicago. We look forward to keeping-up with TeamUSA.org readers via our blog posts over the next few months. Stay tuned!