Feb 9, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Meryl Davis and Charlie White (USA) perform in the team ice dance free dance during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Iceberg Skating Palace. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Olympics: Favored U-M ice dancers take lead after short dance

Feb 8, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the USA perform in the team ice dance short dance program during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Iceberg Skating Palace. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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Favored U-M ice dancers  Meryl Davis and Charlie White took a commanding lead  after the short dance Sunday (Feb. 16) at the Sochi, Russia Winter Olympic Games.

Davis and White, who train in Canton, MI,  scored a personal best 78.89 while their chief rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, scored 76.63.

Virtue and Moir, who also train with Davis and White,  will be hard pressed to defend their Vancouver Olympic title.

Sunday’s performance for Davis and White broke the score posted earlier this week in the team competition.

No home cooking

The Russian pair of Elena Elinykh and Nikita Latsalapov are a distant third awaiting Monday’s free dance, which will  determine the Gold Medalists.

When the pair of Davis and White aren’t skipping across the globe, Davis. 27  is a cultural anthropology major while White , 26 studies political science.

“It definitely is not a fluke that we’ve been that successful in the last couple of years, and we’ve been working very hard for that success,” said Davis, who along with White won six U.S. championships in addition to the Olympic Silver. “That hard work isn’t going away any time soon, so we’re definitely excited about the position we’ve put ourselves in.”

Not only do Davis-White share the same ice with Virtue-Moir, they share the same coach.  A highly regarded Russian immigrant, 57-year old Marina Zoneva has been a godsend to most of her skaters.

‘We really feel like Marina is the perfect coach for us in any situation” White told Reuters.  “Even having her coach our rivals, we trust that she knows exactly what we need to be our best.”

Five of the six-member ice dancing team reside or train in Southeastern Michigan.

The brother and sister pair of Alex and Maia Shibutani attended Huron High School and both became U-M undergrads.

They’ve skated as a team since 2003, with their best season coming in 2010-11. The Shibutanis finished second in the U.S. Nationals and third in the Worlds.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates, who now train in Novi, have been partners since Bates skated with Emily Samuelson at the Vancouver games. ♦

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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Joel Greer

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