Former Olympian Meryl Davis on How Figure Skater Todd Eldredge Inspired Her to Pursue Ice Dancing

During a PEOPLE Twitter Spaces event, Meryl Davis recounted how she first became inspired to pursue her Olympic dreams

Meryl Davis' Olympic journey earned her three medals, but it might never have started if it weren't for another iconic winter athlete.

During a PEOPLE Twitter Spaces chat about Olympic figure skating with multiple former athletes on Monday night, Davis, 35, recounted her "first Olympic memory."

Referencing fellow chat participant and three-time Olympian Todd Eldredge, ice dancer Davis said she witnessed Eldredge and gold medalist Tara Lipinski getting ready for the 1998 Olympics.

"[Longtime skating partner Charlie White] and I actually trained at the rink where [figure skaters] Tara and Todd were training ahead of the Nagano Games and you know, I was 10, 11 years old and I remember just watching in awe as Tara and Todd were getting ready and training," said Davis, an Olympic Channel contributor and author.

During that time, Davis said the local media came to the rink to interview Eldredge and Lipinski. "Charlie and I were sitting there, we had just started skating together, and they said 'Oh hey let's interview these little kids,' and they said 'Do you guys want to go to the Olympics someday?' " she explained. "And sort of a lightbulb went off and that was the first time I really even considered — like I knew the Olympic Games existed but I had never thought, 'Oh I'm a skater and I also could try to be there at some point.' "

That made speaking with Eldredge, 50, during the Twitter Spaces chat even more "cool" for Davis: "That prep for him is really what ignited the interest and possibility for me."

Meryl Davis; Todd Eldredge
Meryl Davis and Todd Eldredge. Amy Sussman/Shutterstock; Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Davis and Eldredge were joined in the chat by bronze medalist Jeremy Abbott, and gold and silver medalist Brian Boitano.

The group was asked to recall their favorite memories from their time at a Games, with Eldredge reminiscing about the post-September 11th Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, in early 2002.

"The first biggest memory that stands out among all the Olympics is competing in my last Olympics in the United States," he said. "Any time you can compete in an event of that magnitude in your home country, it just has a different meaning and a different feeling about it."

Eldredge was selected to be the flagbearer for that Opening Ceremony and carried an American flag that was recovered from the World Trade Center. He said, "To be there with the New York police and firemen and to march in and to have a stadium filled with around 80,000 people, to be completely silent and you could hear a pin drop in that place, just in respect of what that moment was and what that flag represented.

Getting emotional, Eldredge said he loved "the idea that all the athletes from all the countries were in the same place, with the same dreams and goals ahead of them at the beginning of the Games."

"To have those thoughts and those feelings and to be able to share those and the unity that came about in that one moment, is what the Olympics is all about," he explained.

To learn more about Team USA, visit Watch the Winter Olympics, now, and the Paralympics, beginning March 4, on NBC.

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