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.

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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.

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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

Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross win World Series of Beach Volleyball

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Rio bronze medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross bounced back from an Olympic upset to win the biggest annual tournament in the U.S. on Sunday.

Walsh Jennings and Ross captured the Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball title in Long Beach, Calif., for the second time in three years. They beat Spanish pair Liliana Fernández and Elsa Baquerizo 21-16, 21-16 in the final.

“We love those girls so much, they are dear friends of ours,” Walsh Jennings said. “We wanted to beat them down.”

Absent from Long Beach were Olympic gold medalists Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst of Germany and silver medalists Ágatha and Bárbara of Brazil.

Walsh Jennings and Ross, who lost to Ágatha and Bárbara in the Olympic semifinals, dropped a total of two sets in seven undefeated matches this past week.

They earned their fifth international title of the year after winning none in 2015, last season shortened by Walsh Jennings’ fifth right shoulder surgery.

In the men’s final, Brazil’s No. 2 pair, Pedro and Evandro, beat top U.S. pair Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena 19-21, 21-17, 15-9.

Olympic champions Alison and Bruno of Brazil did not compete in Long Beach.

The beach volleyball season continues with the FIVB World Tour Finals in Toronto in two weeks.

MORE: Tough for Misty May-Treanor to watch Kerri Walsh Jennings in Rio

Monica Puig’s unlikely Olympic tennis gold reminded her of ‘Miracle’ scene

Monica Puig
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NEW YORK (AP) — Monica Puig gazed out at her fellow Puerto Ricans jamming the parade route, and in their eyes she saw hope.

They hailed her with “a sense of satisfaction,” she recalled Saturday, “and a sense of belief that things are going to get better.”

Throughout her stunning run to the Olympic tennis gold medal, Puig embraced the symbolism of each upset victory. An economic crisis is devastating the island of her birth, and she appreciated that if she could prove the impossible is possible, that message would reverberate far beyond sports.

“If Puerto Rico channels that same energy and belief that things will get better and working for the better of the island, the better of the community, things will improve,” Puig said four days after the U.S. territory honored its Olympic team and, above all, its first gold medalist.

“I really hope I gave them a lot of confidence moving forward,” she added, “that things will actually get better.”

The world’s 34th-ranked women’s tennis player met with a roomful of reporters Saturday, exactly two weeks after she beat Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber in three sets in the final in Rio de Janeiro. Poised and philosophical in ways that bely her age, the 22-year-old realizes some people deem her gold medal “a fluke.”

After all, Puig has never made it past the round of 16 at a major. And at the U.S. Open, which starts Monday, she’s never advanced beyond the second round. Puig is already bracing herself for the reality that her run at Flushing Meadows could fall well short of what took place in Rio.

“I’m 22 years old. There’s still a long way for me to go, a long stretch of career,” she said. “If anything happens, any kind of slip-up, it’s not really going to be a big deal, because I have a process and I have a long-term view of where I want to go.”

Which isn’t to say she expects a slip-up.

“I know that the Olympics wasn’t a fluke for me, because I have worked very hard to get to where I am,” Puig said. “I know the hours and the tears and the sweat and everything that’s been put into my practices. It’s been very difficult for me.

“But that moment, nobody will be able to take away.”

Even she considers that Olympic moment to be like something out of a movie script. When spectators chanted “Si se puede!” (“Yes you can!” in Spanish) during the final against the second-ranked Kerber, Puig flashed back to a scene from the film “Miracle” about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.

With fans roaring “U-S-A!” coach Herb Brooks tells his players: “Listen to them. That’s what you’ve done.” As Puig said Saturday, “I needed to listen to the crowd.”

Her gold might not have been quite as unlikely as the Miracle on Ice, but it wasn’t too far off. The night after her victory, Puig slept with the medal on her nightstand, waking up every few hours to make sure it was real. She still feels the need to check up on it during the day.

“I see the videos and I’m like, ‘Did this really just happen?'” Puig said.

When they showed the clip of her medal ceremony when she was honored in Puerto Rico, she started crying again. Through it all, she insisted Saturday, she felt she kept her focus, knowing the U.S. Open was looming.

After Rio, Puig spent some time with her family in Miami, where she lives. Then it was on to the island “where the big party was waiting.” It’s been hard to squeeze in sleep and alone time and practice — all the things she needs to recover from one big event and prepare for another.

Puig faces 60th-ranked Zheng Saisai, who upset Agnieszka Radwanska at the Olympics, in the first round Monday. She originally wasn’t seeded at Flushing Meadows, which meant she could have faced a top player in her opening match, but she moved up to the final seed when Sloane Stephens withdrew because of an injury Friday.

It’s the first time Puig has been seeded at a major, and in what was a breakthrough season even before her golden moment, she’s starting to grow comfortable with those sorts of roles.

“I feel like I finally understand what I’m doing when it comes to tennis,” she said.

MORE: U.S. goes one-two in Olympic mixed doubles