NEW YORK — Meryl Davis and Charlie White are still open to returning to ice dance competition but don’t need to compete next season if they want to make a run for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.
“We would probably want to decide at some point during the [2016-17] season, so that we can be basically competitively ready, even if it’s halfway through the season or towards the end of the season,” White said at a Figure Skating in Harlem event on Monday. “Whether we get to any competitions doesn’t, I think, make as big of a difference. As long as we could have been competing. I would say that would probably make the most sense.”
Davis and White have not competed since becoming the first U.S. couple to win an Olympic ice dance title in Sochi.
Meanwhile, their longtime Canadian rivals and former training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have announced a comeback for the 2016-17 season that begins in late summer/early fall.
Virtue and Moir also have not competed since the Olympics, where they took silver behind the Americans.
Virtue and Moir reportedly mandated last May that they needed to decide before the 2016-17 season if they were coming back, giving them buffer time before the Olympic season.
The return of Virtue of Moir and the evolution and competitiveness of the ice dance field, both internationally and domestically, has no bearing on Davis and White’s plans.
“Whether we come back or not, it’s unrelated to what is definitely a very strong dance field,” White said. “Whether it’s strong or weak, having accomplished what we’ve accomplished and our relationship with the sport, it’s about whether we feel fulfilled with what we’ve accomplished. We’re still figuring that out.”
Davis and White still spend many days together on the ice. They practice and perform for non-competition shows, such as Stars on Ice tours in the U.S. and Japan.
“[Shows are] different enough that we would definitely need a lot of preparation to get back into competition mode,” Davis said. “Despite a lot of preparation that would be needed, we’re still on the ice almost every day and still in fighting shape.”
They just returned from a swing of shows in Japan, begin U.S. stops on Friday in Hershey, Pa., and could do three different tours in Japan again this summer.
“This whole idea of whether or not you come back is completely new to us,” said Davis, pointing out that the longest they were previously out of competition mode was two months in 2004-05 when White broke an ankle. “It’s definitely possible, but we have no idea.”