Johnny Weir

The man champions rely on to gain an edge

The man champions rely on to gain an edge

Mike Cunningham touches the steel blade to the grinding wheel humming away in his cramped Waldorf workshop. Sparks fly and a grating whine fills the air. Cunningham squints to focus and, in five minutes, the blade gleams, ready to bite the ice.

"Not terribly exciting, is it?" Cunningham says of his effort. But in truth, through the years he has sharpened the figure skates of such Olympic champions as Tara Lipinski, Dorothy Hamill and the ice dance team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Moreover, in the most recent two Winter Games (2010 and 2014), Cunningham served as skating technician for the U.S. team in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Sochi, Russia.