Meryl Davis and Charlie White in 1st Place After Ice Dancing Short Program

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IFebruary 16, 2014

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 16:  Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States compete during the Figure Skating Ice Dance Short Dance on day 9 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 16, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Standing as the United States' best chance at figure skating gold in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Meryl Davis and Charlie White are in first place after the ice dance short program on Sunday. 

Their score of 78.89 was good enough to put them in front of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada heading into the crucial free dance portion on Monday. 

Ice Dance Short Dance Results
1Meryl Davis, Charlie White78.89United States
2Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir76.33Canada
3Elena Ilinykh, Nikita Katsalapov73.04Russia
4Nathalie Pechalat, Fabian Bourzat72.78France
5Ekaterina Bobrova, Dmitri Soloviev69.97Russia
6Anna Cappellini, Luca Lanotte67.58Italy
7Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje65.93Canada
8Madison Chock, Evan Bates65.46United States
9Maia Shibutani, Alex Shibutani64.47United States
10Nelli Zhiganshina, Alexander Gazsi60.91Germany

Davis and White, who started dancing together 17 years ago, have been at the forefront of the world ice dancing picture for a very long time. 

Winners of the last six United States National Championships, they are undoubtedly the cream of the crop back home, but they have also enjoyed massive success on the international level.     

After falling just short of now healthy-but-intense rivals Virtue and Moir and taking home silver in Vancouver at the 2010 Olympics, Davis and White won silver at the 2010 and 2012 World Championships, while earning gold at the 2011 and 2013 events. Throw in gold at the Four Continents Championships, the Grand Prix Final and several other competitions, and they haven't lost in nearly two years. 

They easily won the ice dance disciplines of the team competition, beating Virtue and Moir by three points during the short program before setting a world record (114.34) in the free dance to help Team USA to bronze.

Paul Chiasson/Associated Press

Afterward, White talked at a press conference about the duo's performance, per's Nicholas McCarvel via NBC Olympic Talk:

“We were very proud of the way that we skated in the team event,” White told reporters at a press conference Thursday. “The perfectionists that we are, we’re looking forward to putting out performances that can top what we did in the team event.”

The only thing left on Davis and White's checklist is Olympic gold. They'll get their chance to live that dream on Monday. After Sunday's impressive performance and sizable gap over their competitors, the American duo are well-positioned to make it to the podium.

Davis and White will be last to skate last on Monday, looking to deliver for Team USA, which has seen some of its biggest stars fall short on the world stage at these Games across various competitions. Davis and White are in a great position to turn the tide for the United States, and all eyes will be on them to do so.

But in order to take advantage of their great start, they'll have to not let up and need to hold off their Canadian rivals, setting things up for a thrilling finish to the competition.