In 2014, Meryl Davis and Charlie White went to Sochi with a golden glow surrounding them closely. It had been two straight seasons of competitions in which they’d failed to come out anywhere lower than the No. 1 spot, and the eyes of the country were on them, expecting nothing less than their usual first. In 2014 I was a senior in high school, sitting in my creative writing class, and I was supposed to be writing a short story. Instead, my phone was propped up on my desk, my headphones on, and I watched Meryl and Charlie embrace as they secured the first gold medal in ice dance at the Olympics in U.S. history. Two years later and I’m now in college in Boston, where the World Figure Skating Championships are being held this year, and I’ve never missed these extraordinary ice dancers more. On the ice they’re incredibly talented, but one of the reasons I’ve admired them so deeply for so long, is their inspiring attitudes off the ice.
Here’s a quick recap on why our 2014 Olympic ice dance gold medalists are so memorable, inspiring, admirable, and extraordinary.
1. Their perfect first tweets
One person following your Twitter, Charlie? How many do you have now—106.4K and counting? I think that gold medal just might’ve caused a spike in your follower count...
Charlie joined the world of Twitter a few months before Meryl did, but that doesn’t make her first tweet any less iconic. This is probably one of the best and most Meryl Davis things in the world, to be so wonderfully uncertain and selflessly kind.
2. Just a couple of kids… with a whole lot of talent
Is that not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen (besides maybe pictures of really cute puppies)? They’ve been partners for their entire careers, which goes all the way back to 1997.
3. Speaking of puppies, their love of puppies
Meryl, when will you get a puppy? When? I’m waiting. I’ve been waiting for a long, long time. I need you to get a puppy and tweet constant updates so I can follow along with the puppy’s life. Your puppy could be best friends with DJ and Finn!
Meryl + Charlie + puppies = happiness.
4. Charlie and Tanith’s wedding
I think we’re all here for this relationship. In case you need to be caught up, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto were an ice dance team who competed against Meryl and Charlie. Oh, and also, Tanith and Charlie were dating. But then they got engaged. And now they are married.
And Ben and Meryl were in the wedding. I can’t think of a more beautiful story.
5. Their determination
Just for the record, no matter how easy they make it look, you don’t become an Olympic gold medalist overnight. You fall and you bruise and you get back up and try again...and again...and again. You keep trying until it’s perfect, and then you try some more.
6. Classroom Champions
Meryl and Charlie also make YouTube videos to connect with middle schoolers and teach them about things such as goal-setting, trust, honesty, perseverance and making healthy choices. I’m not a middle schooler, but I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve watched them all...probably several times.
To be fair, sometimes DJ makes guest appearances.
7. Their Crispix box
This is a weird point to make, but is there anyone who hasn’t dreamed of being on a cereal box? How cool is that? (I still have six of these from 2014. It’s totally fine.)
8. Charlie’s hair
Let’s not pretend you didn’t shed a tear when Charlie’s curls disappeared. It was a pretty emotional day for every figure skating fan out there. Even Meryl was shocked.
Charlie’s curls are a sweeping sensation. They blew around him as he skated and stole all of our hearts simultaneously. They’ve even secured their own place on the Internet with a Twitter account.
As you can tell, Charlie’s hair is kind of a big deal.
9. Their three, yes three, Olympic medals
In case you needed any more proof that hard work pays off, they have not one, not two, but three Olympic medals—one of each, gold, silver and bronze. From their silver in 2010 to their bronze from the team event in 2014, all the way to their gold, if you ever need motivation to work hard at what you love, this is it.
10. Their Olympic gold winning free dance
Two years later, this is still one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. The first time I watched it live on my phone in a classroom senior year, I fell in love, and I watched this video every single day for months afterwards. Meryl and Charlie manage to weave magical stories with their skating, and at the end when they embrace and say, "I love you," you can feel their relief and pride, and you feel almost as though you were there with them through all the hard work and hardships, and you're proud of them too.
11. Their kindness
They are absolutely the most generous and humble human beings I’ve met to date.
Meryl and Charlie are compassionate, thoughtful and driven, and they’ve managed to inspire a whole new generation of figure skaters to follow their lead and never give up on their dreams. If you’ve never gotten to see them skate in person, it’s something you don’t want to miss out on. It’s hard to believe, but Charlie’s curls are even more wonderful in real life. I was lucky enough to meet them last year, and I can safely say that the moment Meryl Davis handed me a piece of her chocolate, was one of the sweetest I’ve experienced to date.