NEW YORK (AP) — After years of hard work and outstanding performances culminated in an Olympic gold medal, Meryl Davis and Charlie White would seem to deserve some down time.
Instead, and by choice, they are busier than ever — and for the ice dance champions, that's saying something.
The pace the couple kept up for more than a decade as they pursued, then won, the first world championship and Olympic titles for American ice dancers has been exhausting.
Yet, after Sochi, they haven't slowed down a bit.
"They're amazing opportunities," White said during a break from practice for the "Stars On Ice" tour they are headlining across the United States. "We can't overstate what an honor it is to have everyone want to do things with us.
"We're not getting so much sleep," he added with a laugh, "but it's just so much fun to experience it all."
What they've experienced in the last six weeks includes competing — with different partners — on "Dancing With The Stars," in which they are considered favorites for yet another title.
They've appeared on the "Colbert Report," ''The View," the "Today" show and "Good Morning America."
They were feted in Canton, Mich., and recognized by the city's mayor and the community with a welcome home celebration. Officials from the state of Michigan also saluted them.
Davis and White both called being recognized on the street as Olympic gold medalists "amazing" and "surprising."
"The way people have responded certainly has told us how much it meant to them to watch our journey and be a part of it," Davis said. "I think we feel several things. One is a connection to the skating community, whether it's an athlete or a fan or a parent. There's something special about the understanding within the community and we really feel that in the arena for "Stars On Ice."
"On top of that, especially in an Olympic year, there has been so much patriotism in the hearts and minds of the athletes coming out of the games. So going from one American city to the next on the tour is so exciting for us to celebrate that Olympic experience."
Many of the U.S. competitors at the Sochi Games also are touring with "Stars on Ice," including Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner, Jason Brown, Jeremy Abbott, Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir. They combined to take a bronze medal in the first Olympic team competition.
But clearly the headliners are Davis and White, and that makes for a different focal point in U.S. skating. Until Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto won Olympic silver in 2006, then Davis-White took it to an even higher level, ice dancing was the poor relation in American skating.
Now? Davis and White are the rock stars of U.S. skating.
"It's something we never allowed ourselves to think about going into the Olympics," White said. "And now it's happening to us, and we are kind of caught off-guard."
But they are thrilled about the ascent of ice dancing and can't wait to see where their successors take it competitively.
"Something very special is that every team has an individual style and take on what ice dance should be," Davis said. "We are curious to see where the next wave of top ice dancers takes that combination. It's exciting to not know what is coming up in the sport."
But there is one thing Davis and White do know is ahead for them, albeit not competitively. There are few constraints on what they can try as entertainers, and they plan to take advantage of the freedom.
"One of the good things about shows like "Stars On Ice" is we can experiment outside the rules of competitive figure skating and ice dance," Davis said. "Definitely, it is exciting for us to be able to create things without any limitations."