Ice Network

Davis, Chmerkovskiy soar to new heights on 'DWTS'

Olympic champion earns perfect scores, rave reviews for performances
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Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy are hoisted up on the shoulders of their competitors after winning Season 18 of 'Dancing with the Stars.'

In the taped package before their freestyle dance, Maksim Chmerkovskiy told Meryl Davis, "You just be you; I'll be better." She was, and he was, and that was enough to make them champions.

Davis continued to make history Tuesday night, this time by helping Chmerkovskiy win his first mirror ball trophy -- capping an extraordinary season of Dancing with the Stars.

Judge Len Goodman summed it up after their freestyle, saying, "There's good, there's great, and there's Meryl." After the pair closed Tuesday's show by performing a foxtrot/cha cha fusion, Goodman said that might have been the last dance he judged on DWTS -- and if it was, it was a great ending.

"The nature of the show, and getting a chance to explore different dance styles from week to week, really helps you explore different characters and different possibilities with performance," Davis said. "Getting a chance to feel more comfortable on the dance floor was an enjoyable process for me."

The accomplishment is all the more incredible given the crazy schedule Davis and ice dance partner Charlie White kept during most of DWTS, which overlapped with the Stars on Ice tour. Last weekend, they performed three shows in the Pacific Northwest.

"Having Maks as my partner and teacher has been instrumental in making it happen," she said. "The schedule was insane, and by the last couple of weeks it was definitely wearing us down. I got sick, and I wasn't feeling great. It was a little bit too much toward the end. To have Maks there and to have such an amazing support system really helped me make the most of it."

It's been a history-making year for Davis. In February, she and White became the first U.S. ice dancers to win Olympic gold. Afterward, there was a whirlwind of appearances, and then they went right into DWTS.

"I can't even believe the last five months," she said. "Without any sort of real down time, the time has sort of flown by. ... The last few months have been unbelievable, and it makes me feel so grateful for all of these opportunities and this whole experience."

Davis and White will be taking at least a couple of weeks off from skating. Both have vacations planned. At present, they don't know what the future holds, but both have a fresh perspective on dance and movement following their DWTS experience.

"Getting a chance to explore all the different styles of dance in a such short period of time has been so cool, and I think that Charlie and I are definitely both excited to be able to take what we've learned back to the ice," Davis said. "Approaching the shows this summer, I feel we have so much in our repertoire now to work that we're really excited to see what we can do on the ice."

Dancers and choreographers from around the world have been praising Davis' dancing on Twitter and other social media. She's touched by their words.

"It's such an honor, and it's very humbling coming from those people," she said. "It's not my field, so to come into someone else's field and work so hard at something, and get a chance to see what they do and how amazing they are at it and learn from the best, it's a privilege that a lot of people don't get to have. I feel fortunate to have had that opportunity."

This was Chmerkovskiy's 14th season on the show, his fifth trip to the finals and his first win.

"Sometimes timing works and things just fall into place, and I think for me the last several months have been all about that," Davis said. "It's just special. You can't plan for something like that, so it definitely makes it that much more enjoyable."