Even though they perform with permanently flexed feet, figure skaters are still the ballerinas of the Olympic games. And after a long losing streak, America’s ice dancers have actually been doing pretty well lately. They won silver medals in 2006 and 2010, and this year’s dancers are poised to go for the gold in Sochi. The figure skating team was announced on Sunday. Here’s a rundown of the ice dancing pairs.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White
Davis and White are this year’s pair to watch. They won silver at the Vancouver games and are current world champions. Last weekend, they took first place at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, their sixth national championship win in a row. They’ve come a long way as partners, too. The team told Time that when they first began training together, “Davis was so shy, she found it hard to look White in the eyes. Their coach threatened to put a Post-it on young White’s forehead for Davis to focus on.”
Maia and Alex Shibutani
Get ready for plenty of chatter about the “Shib Sibs.” This brother-and-sister team won silver at the 2009 world championships and gold at the U.S. championships in 2010. “At the end of the day, it’s a performance,” Alex told Yahoo Sports. “We’re trying to tell a story. We’re trying to show something innovative from beginning to end.”
The Shib Sibs are also known for their funny YouTube videos, like this “Call Me Maybe” parody with fellow ice skaters at a recent competition.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates
This duo came in second behind Davis and White at the 2014 U.S. Championships. Bates is coming back from a cringe-worthy complete Achilles tendon laceration by skate blade in 2010. (Eek!) But, he told The Boston Globe, he’s grateful the experience led him to partner with Chock. “Once your health is taken away, you really feel it. Looking back now, I’m not glad that it happened, but it led to a series of events that led me to skate with Maddie and be here trying to take a shot at another Olympic team.”
We can’t wait to see what they bring to the ice in Sochi next month. We’ll also be keeping an eye on the rest of the figure skating team, which includes 15-year-old Polina Edmunds, among other up-and-coming talents.
Photos by Michael Kass, courtesy of Renee Felton