It won’t be in Sochi, or maybe even at the 2018 Games destined for South Korea, but one of these Februaries, Nancy Viveiros wouldn’t be surprised to flip on her TV and see Las Vegas’ Joy Davis and Alex Wilson gliding across the ice in the Winter Olympics.
Viveiros, a former professional ice dancer from Connecticut, said Davis and Wilson have the kind of natural chemistry and near-supernatural ability she’s coached to an Olympic stage in the past.
She said comparing the pair to Charlie White and Meryl Davis — Team USA’s two-time world champion ice dancers and favored Sochi gold medalists — is probably a bit of a stretch for now but may not be for long.
“They’re that good,” Vivieros said. “They’re attractive; they’re powerful. They’ve just got a lot of talent, a lot of gifts other teams don’t have.”
Las Vegas’ first and only ice dancing team is, in many ways, something of an odd couple, one that’s been forced to gel quickly ahead of a U.S. Figure Skating Association-sponsored sectionals tournament in November and a nationwide tourney planned for next summer.
Davis, 14, and Wilson, 15, have been dancing together for four months and appeared in one official competition.
Wilson, a freshman at Rancho High School, is a former ice hockey player Viveiros recruited into the Fiesta Rancho-based Las Vegas Figure Skating Club last year.
His partner, who is homeschooled, comes from a big family full of current and former figure skaters who cut their teeth on indoor rinks in central Ohio, where Davis laced up her first pair of skates at age 9.
Her family had no problem picking up roots and moving halfway across the country to support her October pairing with Wilson and Viveiros.
Davis, for one, wanted to move the moment she heard about the opportunity.
“I was really excited,” she said. “I don’t really get nervous with Alex, except for the first time we practiced a lift on ice.
“The first time I was just sitting there upside down, with him holding me, was a little scary, I think, for both of us.”
Wilson, who Viveiros describes as a “natural skater,” has one younger brother and no family ties to the sport.
He doesn’t mind getting up at 5:30 a.m. every day to practice with Davis at Fiesta Rancho’s SoBe Ice Arena, 2400 N. Rancho Drive.
The Las Vegas native keeps up with his schoolwork, but he doesn’t have time for much else between school and the duo’s sometimes twice-daily practice sessions in the run-up to a competition.
He manages an occasional skate with youth inline hockey teams in the area, which has proved a good outlet for some of the brutality absent in the graceful waltzes, sambas and fox trots required by his new sport.
“At first when (Viveiros) asked me about ice dancing, I was like, ‘No way,’ ” he said. “But I like being able to skate, and I knew that was something I was already good at.
“So now I just play roller hockey. That’s where I get my violence.”
The pair have racked up almost four dozen USFSA ice dancing performance merits and already rank among the sport’s top rising stars.
Competition insiders have met and been impressed by the couple. Wilson reports U.S. National Champion Jeremy Abbott’s mom was wowed by a recent practice session. Davis said she’s seen scouts from the sports national sanctioning body watch the two work.
Both say all that stands between them and an Olympic podium is time and a lot of hard work.
Viveiros predicts the duo will steal the show at the upcoming sectionals, in large part because of that shared work ethic.
For all her fretting over Wilson’s moonlight gig as a hockey player and Davis’twizzle — a dancing technique — she doubts much will ever get in the way of where the two want to go.
“There’s nothing to really stop them,” Viveiros said. “It might be four years, might be eight, but they’ve got a very good chance of making the Olympics.”
Contact Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter James DeHaven at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839.