To master the sport of ice dancing is to successfully blend its delicate balance of power and poise, competitive fire and complete composure, athleticism and art. In the past year, Meryl Davis, the winner of the 2014 Team Sportswoman of the Year award, has conquered the sport in a way never before seen in an American ice dancer, taking her all the way to the top of the medal podium at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi.
Competing with Charlie White, her partner since 1997, Davis, a West Bloomfield, Michigan, native, attacked the 2013-14 season with a singular focus: to improve on the pair’s 2010 Olympic Games silver medal by winning gold in Sochi. The duo began their march toward their Olympic dream in September 2013, winning the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic. In October, the pair claimed its fourth-consecutive International Skating Union (ISU) Skate America championship. The next month, continuing the unbeaten streak, Davis and White won the NHK Trophy, and in December, they claimed their fifth-consecutive ISU Grand Prix Final win. In the final pre-Olympic competition, Davis and White topped the medal stand for the fifth straight time in the 2013-14 season at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January.
The duo arrived in Sochi as the gold-medal favorites. With a win, they would become the first American ice dancing pair to win an Olympic gold medal…and they did not disappoint. In two spectacular performances, the pair set Olympic, International and American records for high scores in the short dance, free dance and total score categories. Adding to their first Olympic gold medal, Davis and White scored 20 points – the highest possible score – in the inaugural team competition, setting up Team USA for a bronze medal.
As of July, Davis and White ranked first in the ISU World Rankings. Davis currently is a student at the University of Michigan, where she studies cultural anthropology. In May, Davis won the 18th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” competing with professional dance partner Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
Every year, at our Annual Salute to Women in Sports, we recognize an individual sport athlete and team sport athlete whose performances over a 12-month time span have been exceptional. Past winners include Venus and Serena Williams, Nastia Liukin, Jessica Mendoza and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Simply put: our Sportswoman of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious in the game. Learn more here.