Meryl Davis and Charlie White became the first Americans to win ice dance gold on Monday, beating, once again, their Canadian rivals and capping a years-long journey to the top of their sport.
With their groundbreaking performance, White and Davis fully emerged from the shadows of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, their training partners who beat them out for gold in Vancouver four years ago and have since been trading first- and second-place finishes in international competitions.
The Americans also lived up to the enormous expectations heaped on them in the leadup to the Sochi Games, having been considered the U.S. athletes with the biggest chance for gold. The responded with complete success, never stumbling, never falling behind.
"Charlie and I keep looking at each other and saying, 'Its real,'" Davis said afterward, according to NBC Olympics.
They entered Monday’s long program leading Virtue and Moir by more than three points after a short program on Sunday that scored a world record 78.89 points. Their long program, full of complicated twists and lifts, scored 116.63, for a total of 195.52, another record.
But Virtue and Moir didn’t simply hand White and Davis their Olympic crown. They turned in an airy, virtually flawless routine that drew roars from the audience.
Skating first, the Canadians scored a 114.66, which for a few minutes stood as its own record, earning a final point total of 190.99, probably enough under most other circumstances to win gold.
That put the pressure entirely on the Americans, and in the period before Davis and White skated, it was possible to think that Virtue and Moir would end up on top.
But Davis and White, the reigning world champions, have been the sport’s most consistently impeccable pair for two seasons now. In competition after competition, they have one-upped Virtue and Moir.
That pattern did not change on Monday. They nailed every aspect of their highly acrobatic routine, skated to “Scheherazade.”
When it was over, they paused in the center of the rink and embraced.
Bronze went to Russians Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, who scored 110.44 and finished with a combined 183.48.