Meryl Davis, Charlie White

Olympic champions hit New York talk shows (video)

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NEW YORK — Meryl Davis shivered. Charlie White clenched his hands.

How did it feel to be Olympic champions? Freezing cold at The Rink at Rockefeller Center on Wednesday morning.

The first U.S. Olympic ice dance gold medalists started a hectic day of appearances with their first skate on American ice since their Sochi triumph. They performed in costume to their “My Fair Lady” short dance music as flurries began to fall in 27 degrees.

They’ve skated at the famous rink before, but chills aside, it meant more this time.

“Doing it as an Olympic champion,” White said afterward in a TODAY Show green room, “it’s just a different level.”

Davis and White’s planner called for trips from the Rockefeller rink to Kathie Lee and Hoda to a Visa appearance to a Ralph Lauren store autograph signing to a Stephen Colbert interview.

They’ve managed to fit in sleep this week — “here and there,” White joked — amid going to the Closing Ceremony in Sochi on Sunday night, flying to Moscow overnight for a special skate in the Russian capital Monday and then to New York on Tuesday. They’re slated to get home to Detroit, finally, on Thursday.

“The last week, a little over a week now, has just been a whirlwind,” Davis said. “It’s an experience that we’re trying not to miss a moment of.”

It’s a different mindset than they took after winning Olympic silver four years ago.

“It was hard for us to not think ahead right away,” Davis said of 2010. “We need to do this, we need to do that to get to the next level. We’re in a different place at this point. We’re in the moment and the present as opposed to thinking ahead.”

In 2010, Davis and White competed in the World Championships one month after the Vancouver Olympics wrapped, taking their second straight silver to Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

They haven’t decided if they will compete in this year’s World Championships in Saitama, Japan, beginning March 28. They will talk that over after they get back to Michigan.

They’re already committed to the 20-city “Stars on Ice” tour starting April 4 in Fort Myers, Fla. There’s also been speculation about a “Dancing With the Stars” appearance, boosted by show mainstay Derek Hough helping choreograph Davis and White’s short dance.

“We would be so honored to be part of a show that has brought so much attention to dance and really opened up the culture in the U.S.,” White said.

The attention is on Davis and White for now. Some of their favorite words of wisdom on handling the golden life came from 1984 Olympic champion Scott Hamilton.

“His only advice was to enjoy the moment, soak it all in,” White said. “Our lives have changed forever.”

Davis and White were among the last U.S. Olympic champs to tour the Big Apple.

Alpine skiing slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin made her rounds on Monday before returning to Europe for the rest of the World Cup season.

Her highlight came on “The Tonight Show,” where she played a game of “Catchphrase,” teaming with actress Reese Witherspoon against host Jimmy Fallon and Usher.

***

Ted Ligety, who won giant slalom gold, went on “The Late Show” with David Letterman on Tuesday and discussed the snow conditions in Sochi as well as his future.

Ligety said he’s all in for the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics, mentioning that he’s seven years younger than Bode Miller, who won a bronze medal in Sochi.

“As long as I’m having fun doing it, feel like I’m competitive, then I feel like I might as well do it,” Ligety said.

***

Perhaps slopestyle snowboarding gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg has all of them beaten, though. Take a look at this spot from Conan O’Brien.

The 14 best athletes at Sochi Olympics

Ragan Smith delivers in first U.S. championship title win

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Ragan Smith embraced the role of heavy favorite coming into the U.S. gymnastics championships.

Thrust into the spotlight for the first time in her career, the 17-year-old hardly appeared intimidated by the stage. Smith pulled away from the field to claim her first national title Sunday, posting a score of 115.250, more than three points clear of Jordan Chiles in second place and Riley McCusker in third.

Smith opened up a 1.3-point lead over McCusker in the opening round Friday but admitted afterward she wasn’t particularly impressed by her own performance. She was considerably sharper less than 48 hours later, her 57.850 total in the finals was the best in the 16-woman all-around field by nearly two points.

Smith is one of the few holdovers from the 2016 Olympic cycle, serving as an alternate for the “Final Five” team that won half of the available medals in Rio de Janeiro last fall. Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez are taking breaks or have moved on, leaving Smith as the standard bearer for new national team coordinator Valeri Liukin.

The program appears to be in solid hands. Smith ditched “The Addams Family” themed floor routine she used last year for something a little more mature. It’s not the only part of her gymnastics that has grown up. Smith finished first on floor and beam and tied for third on bars.

Smith will be in the mix for the all-around title at the world championships in Montreal, where she’ll have a chance to extend the U.S.’s dominance. An American woman has won the world or Olympic title each of the last six years. Barring injury, Smith should be right there.

Liukin said he wasn’t alarmed following an uneven performance by the field in preliminaries, calling it a positive step for a group lacking in experience. The gymnastics were markedly improved in the finals.

Chiles slipped by McCusker into second thanks to a fabulous save on beam in which she turned a near disaster into something decidedly artful.

Chiles was in the middle of “wolf turn” (basically spinning on one foot while in a crouch on a 4-inch wide piece of wood) when she nearly fell over. Instead she rose to her feet, kept rotating, and went right into the next part of her routine as if it was planned all along.

Chiles’ steadiness gives Liukin another option as he tries to put together the rest of the four-woman team that will join Smith in Montreal. McCusker, only recently recovered from foot and wrist injuries, tried to keep the heat on Smith but stepped out of bounds following the last tumbling pass on her floor routine. McCusker finished first on bars — her legs practically magnetized together as she went from bar to bar — to win the event with ease.

Ashton Locklear, like Smith an alternate last summer, wound up second on bars with a watered down routine as he makes her way back from her own injury issues and should have time to install upgrades before Montreal.

Whoever heads to Canada in October will go with the usual expectations for what has become the sport’s most dominant program.

MORE: Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles says being back in the gym is “OK” (video)

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Simone Biles has competed in the six previous U.S. National Championships, winning the last four, but in Anaheim this year, she’s watching from the sidelines. Biles won four gold medals (team, all-around, vault and floor) and one bronze (on beam) last summer at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

This week she revealed she has returned to the gym to prepare for a yet to be determined event, in her return to competition.

When asked how she’s been doing in the gym by NBC Sports’ Andrea Joyce, Biles responded with her signature smile accompanied by an endearingly bashful eye roll, “the beginning is…OK.”

MORE: Danell Leyva on why he’s retiring

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