The afterglow of the Winter Olympics still illuminates its brightest American stars.
Charlie White and Meryl Davis, gold medal winners in Sochi, Russia, two months ago, proved they’re not at all rusty with a stellar performance Friday night. They joined other skaters as the Stars on Ice U.S. tour kicked off at Germain Arena in Estero, Florida. The two skated to “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov near the end of the evening’s performance, the same music they used to help claim Olympic gold for ice dancing — the first Americans to ever do so.
It highlighted a two-hour nearly flawless show. Joining the dynamic duo were Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, Jeremy Abbott, Jason Brown, Ryan Bradley, Mirai Nagasu, Alissa Czisny, Polina Edmunds, Joshua Farris and the pair Kim Navarro & Brent Bommentre.
Davis and White greeted the three-fourths sold out arena crowd. “Is everyone excited for tonight?” Davis asked, then asked again to louder cheers. “We’re coming off a great Olympic season,” added White. “We’re quite proud to have brought home the gold medals for all you guys.”
Brown led off the first of more than 20 performances. Bradley was next, wearing a red sleeveless shirt with (seemingly) black leather pants and a black banadana on his head. He skated to a rock medley that included Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and the Guns N’ Roses classic “Paradise City” and even threw in a back-flip.
Gold, with a side ponytail, delivered memorable moments when she skated out in a shoulderless black one piece outfit. A fellow skater tossed her a black hat, and she skated to “All That Jazz” from the musical “Chicago,” appropriate for the 18-year-old who has trained in the Windy City. The crowd applauded throughout, bringing some to their feet in various performances.
JoAnn Belardinelli, 60, of Bonita Springs said the show brought back memories of her childhood in upstate New York. “I was a figure skater when I was growing up,” she said, adding she loved everything about Friday’s show. The only flaw was when no one introduced skaters before a couple performances, not even showing their names on any of the giant monitors in each corner of the rink. Even so, that didn’t take away from an otherwise magical night on ice.
Brown brought many to their feet when he dashed onto the ice in a Florida Everblades jersey, dancing to MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” Nagasu delivered smooth performances, especially gliding to the Imagine Dragons’ hit “Demons.” Gold was also mesmerizing, especially in a light blue sequine dress dancing to Idina Menzel singing “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
It seemed fitting that the final number brought out all skaters, moving to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’ “ that includes the line “...born and raised in south Detroit.” Michigan natives White and Davis both grew up just north of Detroit, but it still worked.