Davis and White capture ice dancing gold

The Sports NetworkFebruary 17, 2014 

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - It was finally time for Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the Olympics.

The two-time world champion Americans won ice dancing gold Monday at the Sochi Games, edging defending Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada.

Davis and White earned silver four years ago in Vancouver, finishing behind their practice partners, and on Monday became the first Americans to win the ice dancing Olympic championship.

Skating last on Monday after winning the short dance on Sunday with a record score of 78.89, Davis and White were brilliant again on Monday and skated effortlessly, winning the free dance with a score of 116.63 for a two-day record total of 195.52.

"We were just in our zone, so we could go out and skate like that," White said. "It felt awesome."

Virtue and Moir started the free dance in second place and took the ice first among the contending couples. A flawless performance gave them 114.66 points in the free dance and a combined total of 190.99.

The bronze went to the Russian duo of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, who electrified the home crowd with a dynamic skate to "Swan Lake." Ilinykh and Katsalapov earned a free dance score of 110.44 for a total of 183.48.

France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat finished fourth overall with a two-day total of 177.22, while Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev were next at 172.92.

Bobrova and Soloviev, 2013 world bronze medalists, had the unenviable task of skating after Ilinykh and Katsalapov and simply could not match their countrymates.

Ice dancing competition over the past four years has simply come down to the two couples from North America.

In addition to the gold medal four years ago, Virtue and Moir captured the world title in 2010 and 2012. Davis and White finished behind the Canadian duo at the '10 and '12 worlds, while finishing ahead of them for world gold in 2011 and 2013.

The United States had never won gold in the competition, which made its Olympic debut at the 1976 Innsbruck Games. In addition to the silver won by Davis and White four years ago, the tandem of Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto captured silver in 2006 and the team of Colleen O'Connor and James Millns won bronze in 1976.

Two other American couples finished among the top nine. Madison Chock and Evan Bates placed eighth, just ahead of the sibling duo of Maia and Alex Shibutani. Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje finished seventh.

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