Meryl Davis is an iconic figure skater whose resume includes a 2014 Olympic gold medal in ice dance – the first ever for Team USA – a 2010 Olympic silver in ice dance and 2014 Olympic bronze in the team event. She and partner Charlie White also won two world titles, two world silver medals, five Grand Prix Final medals and six U.S. titles. Davis is writing for TeamUSA.org throughout the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
The battle for Olympic bronze in the ice dance event ended in PyeongChang Tuesday with the brother-sister duo of Maia and Alex Shibutani standing proudly on the Olympic podium. After gracing the world podium for the first time in 2011, the team of siblings faced numerous challenges and setbacks before finding their way into medal contention in lead-up to PyeongChang.
From finding a style on the ice that worked for their unique, brother-sister dynamic to facing formidable foes within the world of American ice dance, Maia and Alex’s road to Olympic bronze wasn’t an easy one.
Flash forward to the wee hours of Wednesday morning in South Korea and the sibling duo couldn’t look happier; their charming, smiling faces seen from one interview to another as the team celebrated their, not just one but two, Olympic bronze medals! You may recall that Team USA brought home the bronze in the figure skating team event just a few days ago. That placement, of course, was thanks in no small part to Maia and Alex’s second-place finish in the ice dance portion of that team event. With all the disciplines tallied, the United States figure skating team stood proudly on the podium; a place Maia and Alex will certainly remember fondly following these Games.
Putting out two strong and powerful performances in the ice dance event itself, the Shibutanis edged out their American teammates for yet another Olympic bronze medal. The team’s emotional reaction and loving embrace following their final skate really said it all. What a journey for Maia and Alex.
(L-R) Alex Shibutani, Madison Chock, Charlie White, Meryl Davis, Evan Bates, Maia Shibutani
That medal wasn’t a sure thing heading into Tuesday’s free program, however. In fact, it was America’s reigning ice dance champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue sitting in third place following the short dance portion of the competition. Despite an electric and spellbinding performance Tuesday night, Hubbell and Donahue suffered a loss of points as a result of several minor errors. The team would finish in fourth place.
Another American team plagued by error in this Olympic ice dance event was Madison Chock and Evan Bates, the 2015 U.S. ice dance champions. With such tough competition from the field, there was no room for error and an unfortunate fall proved costly for the pair who happen to be a couple both on an off the ice. Partway through their poignant and impactful piece to “Imagine,” Madison and Evan’s feet were caught and produced an unfortunate turn of events.
The day after their free dance performance, Bates took to Instagram to thank fans for their support.
“Yesterday we set out to deliver a message of hope and positivity and in the end, that message was delivered to us by all of you who reached out.” Evan went on to say that the thoughtful and encouraging messages from fans helped the pair to heal from the upsetting fall and heartbreaking moment on Olympic ice. Such perspective, in my opinion, shows what champions Madison and Evan are on and off the ice.
(L-R) Madison Chock, Meryl Davis, Madison Hubbell
Certainly, the Olympic Games are about more than shiny hardware but the strength of the human spirit. That notion was further evidenced Tuesday evening in the much-anticipated battle for gold between Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron. In their third Olympic Games, the Canadian pair bested Papadakis and Cizeron to win their second Olympic gold medal, becoming the most decorated ice dance team in history.
Still, Papadakis and Cizeron accomplished a victory of their own Tuesday in winning the free dance portion of the event. After a disastrous costume malfunction in the short program, Papadakis and Cizeron went on to put forward a truly brilliant piece of ice dance history set to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” This was the first Olympic medal at their first Olympic Games for the two-time world champions.
The event, though, belonged to the seasoned Canadian champions. After a two-year hiatus, the two returned to competition to win the world figure skating championships in 2017. Despite a two-year-long rivalry with the talented young French team, Virtue and Moir claimed victory in PyeongChang with their passionate, crisp and masterful performances on Olympic ice. In combination with Canada’s gold in the team figure skating event, the duo will return home with not just one but two sets of gold medals from the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.