Meryl Davis, Charlie White

Meryl Davis, Charlie White look to uncertain future in ice dancing

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NEW YORK — Meryl Davis and Charlie White recently performed at a figure skating show in Japan. An International Skating Union official they’ve known for years approached them.

“You’re bringing so much more to the ice now after ‘Dancing with the Stars,'” the official said. “You have to come back.”

Davis and White have not skated competitively since winning the first U.S. Olympic ice dance gold medal in Sochi on Feb. 17.

“I think we both felt it soon after we were done competing at the Olympics,” White said at the chilly opening of The Rink at Rockefeller Center on Monday morning. “We were both planning on competing at the World Championships [in March in Saitama, Japan], but as soon as we were done, that was everything we had. That was the perfect way to end the season.”

They pulled out of the World Championships one week after the Olympic Closing Ceremony. A day later, it was announced they would go on “Dancing with the Stars,” where White finished fourth and Davis won.

Then, on June 6, the kids who grew up 10 minutes apart and had skated together for some 17 years announced they wouldn’t compete at all the upcoming season. Maybe never again.

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“There was the flurry of media and we did all the stuff,” White said Monday. “As it went on, we were so tired and exhausted. It was really easy for us to just be like, it wouldn’t make any sense for us to compete next year. We really need to just regroup and figure out if that’s moving toward what we even want to do.”

White is training his new puppy, Finnegan — “Finn” — and helping set up his wedding with 2006 Olympic ice dance silver medalist Tanith Belbin. Davis is back in school, taking University of Michigan online classes.

Davis and White will skate together in shows this fall and grand marshal a Detroit Thanksgiving Day parade. They won’t discuss a possible competitive future until the spring.

White conceded taking a break and returning to ice dance would be easier than, say, singles skating.

“That’s not to say it would be easy,” White said. “If you want to be a top man [singles skater], you really need to be able to do a quad. To lose the timing of a quad jump is to lose all hope [laughs]. For us, there are a lot of moves that are important and require daily training. It’s not quite to the nth degree. The areas in ice dance that you can actually improve not by competing but by experiencing other things are palpable and would show up in the scores.”

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Davis and White said they would never skate with different partners (unlike two-time Olympic teammate Evan Bates, who competed in Vancouver with Emily Samuelson and Sochi with Madison Chock.)

“Definitely not,” Davis said. “Not a chance. … I can’t even fathom.”

“That would never go well,” White said. “Everything that makes us good skaters is entirely reliant on the other person. We’re symbiotic.”

Davis and White have thought about how long they will be dancing on ice in non-competitive shows together. British 1984 Olympic ice dance champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean were still touring last spring.

“I think there’s probably a point of no return,” White said, laughing. “Once our bodies aren’t able to do the things that we’re used to being able to do, I think it would be so disappointing, I wouldn’t necessarily want to try.”

Davis was more succinct.

“If your question is, will we be performing at 40, the answer is no,” said Davis, who is 27 (White is 26).

Davis and White said they’ve met Dean but haven’t discussed the facets of gold medal-worthy ice dancing.

“They’re such icons in England, I feel like there would be a revolt if they stopped skating,” White said. “They’re such legends. They’re untouchable. You don’t, like, text Christopher Dean, ‘Hey what’d you think of my performance?'”

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U.S. beats Japan in Olympic baseball qualifier, may still need help

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The U.S. handed Japan its first loss in the Premier12 global Olympic baseball qualifier, at the Tokyo Dome no less, but now the Americans must root for the host nation.

The Americans, with a roster mostly of Double-A and Triple-A players, won 4-3 over a Japanese team that includes some of its domestic league’s biggest stars like two-time Central League MVP Yoshihiro Maru and veteran shortstop Hayato Sakamoto.

Outfielder Jo Adell, MLB Pipeline’s top-ranked prospect on the U.S. team, starred by reaching base four times with a home run.

Japan is already qualified for baseball’s Olympic return as the host nation.

The U.S., meanwhile, has a sense of urgency at Premier12, the first of a possible three tournaments in which it could clinch an Olympic spot.

At Premier12, the top-ranked nation from North and South America qualifies for the Olympics. The tournament is at the super-round stage of the final six teams, and two are from the Americas: the U.S. and Mexico.

The top four nations after each has played five games advance to gold- and bronze-medal games.

Mexico already beat the U.S. and ran its super-round record to 3-0 on Tuesday, clinching a spot in the medal round.

The U.S. moved to 1-2 in the super round on Tuesday and must at least get into the same medal-round game as Mexico to keep its hope of finishing as the top team from the Americas.

Japan could help, since it plays Mexico on Wednesday. If Mexico beats Japan, the Mexicans clinch a spot in the gold-medal game, which would put more pressure on the U.S. to win its last two games (vs. Australia on Wednesday and Chinese Taipei on Friday). Even then, South Korea would get into the gold-medal game if it wins out.

If the U.S. is not the top team from the Americas at Premier12, it can still earn an Olympic berth in March. But then it faces trying to come up with a roster at the end of MLB’s spring training rather than during the offseason. MLB teams may be less inclined to release minor leaguers.

“That’ll be a delicate dance,” U.S. general manager Eric Campbell said before Premier12.

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College gymnast dies after practice accident

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An accomplished gymnast at Southern Connecticut State University has died following a serious spinal cord injury suffered in a training accident.

Melanie Coleman, 20, of Milford, Connecticut, was training Friday at New Era Gymnastics in Hamden when she was injured, said her mother, Susan Coleman.

She was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and died Sunday.

Coleman was a former All State gymnast at Jonathan Law High School in Milford and was captain of the school’s gymnastics team. She was named a Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association Scholastic All-American this year.

Her former club coach, Tom Alberti, said she attained a level 10, the highest level in the USA Junior Olympics Program.

She was a junior studying nursing, following in the footsteps of her two older sisters, her mother said.

“She’s from a very large, loving family; there’s seven of us, we were the Coleman seven,” Susan Coleman said. “We spent every day together for the past 20 years.”

She volunteered at the gym where her accident occurred.

Her coaches and professors described her as a special young woman who excelled in both the classroom and gym, college President Joe Berolino said in a written statement.

“Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family and friends on this tragic loss,” he said.

People the family has met by traveling to gymnastics events around the country are giving support that is “holding us up,” Coleman’s mother said.

She described her children, which also include two sons older than Melanie, as “inseparable.”

“We’re going to leave an empty space in our photos for her” from now on, Susan Coleman said.