Meryl Davis, Charlie White Will Not Compete in 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea

Wow! After winning gold in their second Olympic ice dancing appearance at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Charlie White and Meryl Davis have decided not to compete at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next February.

“We’ve been saying that it’s bittersweet,” Davis tells Us Weekly of the announcement. “It’s of course sad to not take that opportunity to go to the Olympic games and represent our country as athletes.”

The pair, who have been competing together for nearly 20 years, took a long time to make their difficult decision.

“We’ve given ourselves three years to make the decision. We’ve constantly been going back to that ‘What is it going to take? Do we have it? Do we have the motivation?’ And ultimately I think we could do it — we recognize that the potential is there — but at the same time, what we’re motivated to do is to continue finding ourselves away from the competitive area. That’s what we’re most excited about,” White explains to Us. “So returning to the ice for competition, it wouldn’t be fair to us.”

But make no mistake, White is clear the duo is “not retiring” and will still be performing in the Stars on Ice tour in the spring.

Reflecting back on training for Sochi, White says their main motivation was to grab gold after winning silver in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

“That was a big motivator and something that we looked forward to being able to prove ourselves on the biggest stage,” White recalls. “I definitely think that we would have had to find a huge, new motivation [for Pyeongchang] because it is so demanding. It demands so much sacrifice to go all in, especially in preparation for the Olympics.”

For now, the duo is interested in heading to South Korea in different role — perhaps as commentators (“being there in another capacity wasn’t on the table up until this point,” Davis explains) — and cheering on the ice dancers of Team USA.

“I think there are three really standout teams right now in the U.S.,” Davis explains. “Maia and Alex Shibutani are the two-time consecutive and reigning ice dance champions. Madison Chock and Evan Bates are national champions in their own right, and both of those teams were on the world podium last year, which is a huge accomplishment for one country to have two teams on the world podium. And then we have Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, who were in the top six at world’s last year and are really sort of knocking on that door of challenging those top two teams, which only makes for a more exciting event. We have three solid teams who are capable of greatness, not just in their own right, but together as a force to be reckoned with, as American ice dancers.”

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!