In the month since winning gold in the Winter Olympics, partners Charlie White and Meryl Davis have traded the hard-packed ice for a ballroom dance floor on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." The two are facing off against an unlikely opponent: each other.
"We've basically switched from one high-pressure situation to another," the 26-year-old Ann Arbor, Mich., White says of his role on the popular program, whose new season began March 17. "Meryl is probably my biggest competition this season, experience-wise. But who knows? Drew Carey is one of those stars with a huge fan base. Drew Carey might beat me."
White and Davis, who signed on to the ABC dance competition a week after collecting their golden hardware at the Sochi games, aren't even slowing down in between live broadcasts of "Dancing With the Stars." On Saturday, April 5, the pair will join the bronze-medal-winning members of the United States Olympic figure skating team for an evening of exhibition-style ice dancing at Sunrise's BB&T Center.
Also twirling across the rink during the Stars on Ice event will be U.S. champions Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold and Jeremy Abbott, along with silver medalist Jason Brown and two-time pair champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir.
The ice-skating tours represent a break from the "rough" performance schedule ahead on the 18th season of the reality dance show, White says. Expectations are higher for a pair of gold medalists than with other competing celebrities, even if ballroom dancing is much different than executing a Salchow jump on the ice.
"Ice dancing forces you to capitalize on the momentum of one foot, but it's so different than ballroom, because when you take one step — boom! — it's one step. No extra boost," says White, whose training partner and coach on "Dancing With the Stars" is Australian ballroom dancer Sharna Burgess. "We actually kind of feel a little limited in what we can do. It's a little scary."
Davis, who has been training with Latin ballroom champion Maksim Chmerkovskiy, says she's made no effort to hide her training regimen from White, her dance partner of 17 years.
"We're always talking with each other, competition or not," Davis, 27, says. "We are just going with the flow, and we'll be excited to see each other dance. I mean, we're still training together for 'Stars on Ice.'"
Charlie White and Meryl Davis will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5 during the Stars on Ice Tour at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, in Sunrise. Tickets cost $25-$145. Call 954-835-7000 or go to TheBB&TCenter.com.