Part of the always popular figure skating discipline at the Games, ice dancing at the 2014 Winter Olympics is one step closer to awarding a medal after the short dance event on Day 9 in Sochi.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White are favorites going into the free dance medal round, as the pair outscored the 24-team field by earning a world-record total of 78.89 from the judges.
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir came in second with a score of 76.33, while Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov earned third-place honors with a 73.04 on Sunday.
Let’s take a look at how every team scored during its short dance performance, plus recap the top performances and preview Monday’s free dance competition.
|Place||Country||Name||Total Segment Score|
|1||USA||Meryl Davis, Charlie White - Q||78.89|
|2||CAN||Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir - Q||76.33|
|3||RUS||Elena Ilinykh, Nikita Katsalapov - Q||73.04|
|4||FRA||Nathalie Pechalat, Fabian Bourzat - Q||72.78|
|5||RUS||Ekaterina Bobrova, Dmitri Soloviev- Q||69.97|
|6||ITA||Anna Cappellini, Luca Lanotte - Q||67.58|
|7||CAN||Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje - Q||65.93|
|8||USA||Madison Chock, Evan Bates - Q||65.46|
|9||USA||Maia Shibutani, Alex Shibutani - Q||64.47|
|10||GER||Nelli Zhiganshina, Alexander Gazsi - Q||60.91|
|11||GBR||Penny Coomes, Nicholas Buckland - Q||59.33|
|12||ESP||Sara Hurtado, Adrian Diaz - Q||58.58|
|13||FRA||Pernelle Carron, Lloyd Jones - Q||58.25|
|14||AZE||Julia Zlobina, Alexei Sitnikov - Q||58.15|
|15||ITA||Charlene Guignard, Marco Fabbri- Q||58.14|
|16||RUS||Victoria Sinitsina, Ruslan Zhiganshin - Q||58.01|
|17||LTU||Isabella Tobias, Deividas Stagniunas - Q||56.40|
|18||CAN||Alexandra Paul, Mitchell Islam - Q||55.91|
|19||GER||Tanja Kolbe, Stefano Caruso - Q||54.43|
|20||AUS||Danielle O'Brien, Gregory Merriman - Q||52.68|
|21||JPN||Cathy Reed, Chris Reed||52.29|
|22||TUR||Alisa Agafonova, Alper Ucar||49.84|
|23||CHN||Xintong Huang, Xun Zheng||48.96|
|24||UKR||Siobhan Heekin-Canedy, Dmitri Dun||41.90|
Q = Qualified. Sochi2014.com
Ilinykh and Katsalapov represented host nation Russia with a brilliant routine. The pair skated 20th out of 24 competitors and was better than all but two.
In fact, they could have scored even higher had Ilinykh not stumbled a bit during the performance. Regardless, they gave an amazing performance, set to quickstep and foxtrot music, and really clicked with the judges.
Their opening score of 73.04 makes them a favorite to land on the podium during Monday’s ceremony. However, they will have some stiff competition from these next two teams.
Virtue and Moir came out 18th and dazzled the crowd with a performance the rest of the field would find tough to top.
The Canadian superstar duo had no issues with its twizzles on Sunday, something it struggled with in the team event, according to Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press:
Looked like Virtue and Moir's twizzles were bang on tonight. Where they had trouble in the team event. #CPSochi— Lori Ewing (@Ewingsports) February 16, 2014
Virtue and Moir were locked in while performing to the foxtrot, quickstep and foxtrot again, moving in sync with ease. The judges weren’t as impressed as the crowd, though, awarding a score of 76.33 for their efforts.
The CBC Olympic Twitter feed posted a photo of the pair as their score was announced:
Christine Brennan of USA Today noted that score was over a point short of their best mark of the season:
CAN Virtue-Moir look much-improved from team event, but judges do NOT give them a season's best. 76.33 is off by more than a point. Hmmm....— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 16, 2014
It was, however, the highest score of the day up until that point and would not be topped until this next pair came out onto the ice.
Davis and White were simply perfect with the pressure on. They skated last and knew they needed to best Virtue and Moir’s score to get in position for the gold in the next leg of the event.
It was a flawless routine that left the crowd stunned, as NBC Sports announcer Johnny Weir commented during the broadcast that he didn’t even need to say anything during the dance, letting the performance speak for itself.
The judges agreed that what they had just witnessed was nothing short of spectacular and doled out a record score of 78.89, a mark that will be tough for any of the other nine teams to best, barring an absolute meltdown during the free dance.
Davis and White have been at the top of this sport for years and appear poised to dominate yet another event in Sochi.
The much-anticipated free dance portion of the ice dance event is set to start at 10 a.m. ET Monday and will feature the top 20 teams from Sunday’s short dance looking to put on a show and impress the judges enough to earn a coveted medal.
White and Davis will be heavy favorites to earn the gold, but White does not believe his team is a lock to reach the top of the podium. On Friday, he told Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News:
There’s no shoo-in, nothing like that. It’s a real competition and that’s the way we like it. The new scoring system made it very competitive. Anyone can rise to the top. You have to skate great if you want to win.
Who will win gold in this event?
The pair won silver in this event at Vancouver four years ago and is looking to finally push past the rest of the competition and win the gold. If Sunday's performance is any indication, White and Davis are well on their way.
Virtue and Moir will be their biggest competition, but they will have to make up ground after falling 2.56 points short of the first-place mark set today. It’s going to be a great battle, so make sure you tune in on Day 10 to catch the thrilling conclusion of the ice dance event at the 2014 Winter Olympics.