Feb. 16, 2014
SOCHI, Russia -- The Olympic ice dancing competition began Sunday (Feb. 16) with 24 pairs pursuing their Olympic dreams at the Iceberg Skating Palace. Five University of Michigan students, all representing the United States, concluded the day in first, eighth and ninth place, led by gold medal favorites and two-time world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Davis and White, competing in the final group, were the final pair to skate. The prohibitive favorites to capture gold, the Wolverines put in another technically sound and smooth performance that earned them first place with a short-dance record 78.89 points heading into the medal round on Monday. The pair has not lost in two years of competition.
Competing in their first Olympics, Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani were the first Americans to take the ice in the short dance. The brother-sister pair, both of whom are currently enrolled at U-M, skated to Michael Buble and scored a personal-best 64.47 to place them atop the leader board by nearly six points before concluding the day in ninth place. The Shibutanis captured the bronze medal at the 2014 U.S. National Skating Championships to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Fellow Wolverine and recent U-M graduate Evan Bates and his partner, Madison Chock, moved ahead of the Shibutanis with 65.46 points, eventually finishing the short program in eighth place. This is Bates' second Olympic Games after representing the U.S. with U-M alumna Emily Samuelson in Vancouver in 2010, and Chock's first. The pair finished second at the U.S. Nationals to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
The defending Olympic gold medalists, Canada's Tess Virtue and Scott Moir, finished the round in second place with 76.33 points.
Ice dancing competition concludes on Monday with 20 teams advancing to the free dance competition when medals will be awarded.