It took just a matter of seconds after Meryl Davis and Charlie White stepped on the ice Saturday for those gathered at the CenturyLink Center to realize they were about to see something special.
With a program chocked full of threes and 10s — the best a pair can get in executed elements and program components — Davis and White whirled and twirled their way into the history books by winning their fifth consecutive ice dance title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Only four other pairs of dancers are on that exclusive list, and the defending Olympic silver medalists did it with a career-best score of 197.44 points. Their 118.42 in Saturday’s free dance event also was the best they’ve ever posted.
“It was a great crowd, a great moment and we are really happy with winning these five championships,” White said. “It’s really special.”
The same can be said about the skaters from Michigan who grew up 10 minutes from each other and have been ice dance partners since 1997.
Out of a possible 60 points in program components, Davis and White earned 59.91 during their Saturday free dance performance to “Notre Dame de Paris” by Riccardo Cocciante and Luc Plamondon. They earned 10s from every judge in performance/execution and interpretation/timing.
They also were awarded 10s in transitions/linking, footwork/movements and composition/choreography despite getting a 9.75 from one judge in each of those categories. The highest and lowest scores from the nine judges are tossed and an average of the other seven is taken to create the final score for each program component.
Only in skating skills did Davis and White not earn an aggregate 10. With three 9.75s, they earned 69.5 out of 70 points.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates edged siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani 175.91 to 174.21 for the silver medal.
“We were very happy with our performance and it’s been such a great season,” Chock said. “We have been working very hard and we hope to keep getting better and better from here.”
While Davis and White were nearly perfect in their program components, they also earned all threes in their first two executed elements — a spin four and rotational lift. The lowest grade of execution they received on any element was 1.36 (on a base value of four) and the largest was a 2.86 on a base value of eight for their circular step sequence.
“We are perfectionists and we are very hard workers,” Davis said. “In improving from year to year, we seek out any help we can get. In pushing U.S. ice dance forward, those steps are necessary in gaining momentum and becoming better.”
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