BOSTON — Meryl Davis and Charlie White stepped onto a riser in the mixed zone Wednesday and noted how high up they were.
Someone suggested they consider it a medals podium.
Not that the ice dancers are unfamiliar with such lofty territory. Five-time U.S. gold medalists, twice world champions, silver medalists at the 2010 Vancouver Games, they are the most accomplished couple in American figure skating history. Skating off with another national title this week seems a mere formality for “Marlie.”
The bigger prize is out there in February: Olympic gold.
Yet they say concentrating on the U.S. Championships that start Thursday — Davis and White begin competition Friday with the short dance — is easy.
“We’ve been really good at it, keeping in the moment,” White said. “Whether it’s day-to-day practices here, practices at home, we’re not worried about the Olympics. We are taking each part of nationals like that. Getting better at each step will help us with competitions in the future.”
White added a smile after saying that, fully aware the next event for them will be at Sochi.
“The last four years as a team, each year we’ve been making it build with each competition,” White added. “Making everything we do the best we can be, getting to the cusp of greatness.”
Some would say they have reached greatness, at least for American ice dancers, whose international record through the years was, to be kind, abysmal.
But an Olympics breakthrough was made by Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto in 2006 with a silver medal, and they also grabbed two silvers and two bronzes at the world championships.
Davis and White have done them two better with their world titles in 2011 and 2013. The natural next honor would be Olympic gold. To get that, they will have to beat their friends and training partners in Michigan, Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the Vancouver champions.