Feb. 17, 2014
SOCHI, Russia -- University of Michigan students Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first American ice dancing pair to capture Olympic gold with their second record-setting performance on Monday (Feb. 17) at the Iceberg Skating Palace. All three American teams, featuring five U-M students, finished among the top 10, with U-M alumnus Evan Bates and his partner, Madison Chock, placing eighth, and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani finishing ninth.
"I felt like we had done everything we could from the beginning of this competition, in practice, (the) team event, this event," White said afterwards. "And 17 years of hard work was justified. To come away with a gold medal is amazing."
Performing to music from Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade" in their free dance, Davis and White needed a 112.11 score and a nearly flawless performance to overtake their training partners, Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the defending Olympic gold medalists. Virtue and Moir, skating three pairs ahead of Davis and White, turned in a free-dance record 114.66 to sit atop the standings with a 190.99 total and a comfortable 7.51-point lead.
After recording a short-dance record score on Sunday (Feb. 16), Davis and White bested the Canadians' record with a score of 116.63 to give them the gold medal with a 195.52 total. The U.S has claimed only four Olympic medals in ice dancing, with two of them belonging to Davis and White, who also claimed silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
"I've never skated and visualized the performance at the same time and tonight that's kind of how it felt. It felt great," Davis added.
Skating to music from "Les Misérables," Bates and Chock captivated the audience with their free dance, scoring a personal-best 99.18 to give them a total score of 164.64. They sat in second place with six pairs remaining and finished in eighth place.
The Shibutani siblings, both current U-M students, skated to a Michael Jackson medley and posted a score of 90.70, which was the second-highest score through the first 12 performances. Combined with their short-dance performance Sunday evening, the Shibutanis finished with a score of 155.17, securing a top-10 finish in their first Olympic appearance.
The Russian pair of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov captured the bronze medal with 183.48 points.