Michigan's Meryl Davis, Charlie White win historic gold medal in ice dancing

SOCHI, Russia (Detroit Free Press) -- This gold medal was made in Michigan.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the ice dance at the Winter Olympics Monday, becoming the first U.S. skaters to capture a gold medal in the event.

"That, in itself, justified 17 years of hard work," White said of their performance.

Davis, 27, of West Bloomfield and White, 26, of Bloomfield Hills finished with 195.52 points.

Davis and White defeated their archrivals, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who finished with 190.99 points and won the silver medal for Canada.

Both teams train at Arctic Edge in Canton, under acclaimed coach Marina Zoueva.

"Don't think anyone will love us less for bringing home a silver medal to Canada," Virtue said.

"No athletes like it to sit in this position," Moir said. "We came here to win the competition. But it's easier when we see them and know how hard these guys work."

Over the years, the two teams have taken turns at the top.

Virtue and Moir won the gold medal at the Vancouver Games in 2010 while Davis and White took silver.

Davis and White have won the world title in odd years: 2011 and 2013. Virtue and Moir won the world title in 2010 and 2012.

But Davis and White have dominated the sport the last two years. They haven't lost since the 2012 world championships, a winning streak that has included a world championship and now the Olympics.

"We wanted to fight for the best performance we could give and we did that. You dream of this for so long, work so hard, and they worked hard, too," White said, referring to Virtue and Moir. "They always have been with us, pushing us, and we couldn't have done it without them."

After the short dance Sunday, Davis and White had built a comfortable, 2.56-point lead over Virtue and Moir.

"We have grown up in every sense of the word," Davis said today. "Charlie and I are very different. We used those difference to balance it out. There has never been a moment of doubt."

Virtue and Moir skated brillantly in their free dance, scoring 114.66 points. But Davis and White — the last skaters — did even better, scoring 116.63 points.

This competition had a strong Detroit flavor. Fifteen of the 24 Olympic teams have trained around Detroit: nine at the Novi Ice Arena, three at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills and three in Canton.

Detroit has turned into the ice dance capital of the world.

And Davis and White proved once again that they are the reigning king and queen.

They were homegrown, two skaters who have been together since elementary school.

And now they are Olympic champions.

The final standings

How they finished in the Olympic ice dance (with short dance, free dance and total points):

1. U.S.: Meryl Davis and Charlie Davis (Arctic Edge in Canton), 78.89, 116.63, 195.52 points.

2. Canada: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Arctic Edge), 76.33, 114.66, 190.99.

3. Russia: Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, 73.04, 110.44, 183.48.

4. France: Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat (Novi Ice Arena), 72.78, 104.44, 177.22.

5. Russia: Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, 69.97, 102.95, 172.92.

6. Italy: Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte (Novi Ice Arena), 67.58, 101.92, 169.50.

7. Canada: Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield Hills), 65.93, 103.18, 169.11.

8. U.S.: Madison Chock and Evan Bates (Novi Ice Arena), 65.46, 99.18, 164.64.

9. U.S.: Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani (Arctic Edge), 64.47, 90.70, 155.17.

10. Great Britain: Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland, 59.33, 91.78, 151.11.

11. Germany: Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi (Novi Ice Arena), 60.91, 89.86, 150.77.

12. Azerbaijan: Julia Zlobina and Alexei Sitnikov (Novi Ice Arena), 58.15, 90.48, 148.63.

13. Spain: Sara Hurado and Adria Diaz, 58.58, 88.39, 146.97.

14. Italy: Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (Novi Ice Arena), 58.14, 86.64, 144.78.

15. France: Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones (Novi Ice Arena), 58.25, 84.62, 142.87.

16. Russia: Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin, 58.01, 82.65, 140.66.

17. Lithuania: Isabella Tobias and Deividas Stagniunas (Novi Ice Arena), 56.40, 82.60, 139.00.

18. Canada: Alexandra Paul and Mitch Islam (Detroit Skating Club), 55.91, 82.79, 138.70.

19. Germany: Tanja Kolbe and Stefano Caruso, 54.43, 76.13, 130.56.

20. Australia: Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman (Detroit Skating Club), 52.68, 75.85, 128.53.

Contact Jeff Seidel: jseidel@freepress.com . Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff.


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