February 10, 2014
Ice dancing doesn’t usually attract big U.S. corporate sponsors, but this year is different, The Wall Street Journal reports. On Feb. 17, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first Americans to win a Gold Medal in the event.
Davis, 27, and White, 26, have the longest list of sponsors ever for a U.S. ice dance team — including Visa, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg, Ralph Lauren, AT&T and Airweave, a Japanese mattress firm. The pair is an Olympic sponsor’s dream: Polished and wholesome, they grew up 10 minutes from one another in suburban Detroit and have skated together since elementary school.
In the weeks before the games, Davis and White tweeted about Puffs tissues, skated with cameras on their heads for a Visa-sponsored video, and signed autographs at a Kellogg plant. “I grew up on Pop-Tarts,” White says, adding that the products they’re pitching are ones they use anyway. Ice dancing still has far less marketing might than men’s or women’s singles figure skating, but the sport’s popularity has been growing since an American team, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, won a silver medal at the Torino Olympics in 2006. — Greg Beaubien