Olympic gold medal ice dancers train in Canton, Mich. - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Olympic gold medal ice dancers train in Canton, Mich.

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For the first time in history, the Olympic gold medal in ice dancing was won by an American team, and they train less than an hour up the road in Canton, Michigan.

In fact, the vast majority of top ice dancers train in the Detroit area. 13abc's Lissa Guyton and videographer Todd Gaertner put on the skates to bring you this story.

Ice dancing is one of the most beautiful winter sports to watch. Americans Charlie White and Meryl Davis are on top of the world after winning a number of national and international competitions, including the gold medal in Sochi.

The Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Michigan is where they train.

According to Arctic Edge General Manager Craig O'Neill, it didn't start out as a figure skating rink. "The rink opened in 2001 and all we knew was hockey. We knew we wanted to get into figure skating but we never dreamed it would turn out like this."

The arena sparks the dreams of many young skaters, like Emma Wolak.

"You skate with Olympic champions?," we asked. "I do, and it's awesome," she says. "It is so motivating, they did it, so I can do it too."

13-year-old Emma is setting her sites on the 2018 Olympics. In fact, she's so serious about her goal that she left traditional school. "When I was in 4th grade, I had to start home schooling because I had to spend a lot of time on the ice. I practice three hours a day, six days a week."

Tim McKernon is an ice dancing coach at Arctic Edge, "They're some of the nicest people you'd ever meet. They are down to Earth, and they work hard for everything they've accomplished," he says, talking about the new Olympic champs. "That's one of the most important lessons in skating. If you want something, you have to work for it."

Tim started skating at the age of nine. "It's a lot of fun. I'd be out here all day if I could."

He competed until 2011. After that he took up teaching others about the sport he loves. "Ice dancing is like ballroom dancing on ice it's a little more athletic because we have a lot more speed. We're moving across the ice at a high rate of speed and we're doing crazy lifts." 

The Canadian team that won the ice dancing silver medal in Sochi also trains at Arctic Edge, as well as another top American team.

So why Arctic Edge? O'Neill says that a famous coach, who was originally from Russia, started working at the rink not long after it was built and that's what started it all. He went on to say the top coaches there today continue to attract the top talent.

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