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Canadians Virtue and Moir break through, win ice dancing gold

Fourth-Place Medal

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Since the debut of ice dancing in 1976, a European team had won every gold medal – until Monday night. Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won gold, followed by fellow North Americans and training partners, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who represent the U.S. The Russian pair of Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin held on for the last podium spot, edging out Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto.

Virtue and Moir, the hometown favorites, were in the lead heading into Monday's free dance, but Davis and White started off the final group with a strong program danced to "The Phantom of the Opera." As their dance finished, the crowd cheered, and the pair were given a personal best score of 107.19, but a one-point deduction was made for holding a lift for too long.

When Virtue and Moir took the ice, they needed only a 104.6 to beat Davis and White. With an elegant and understated routine, they scored 110.42 points.

Veteran couples Belbin-Agosto and Domnina-Shabalin took the ice next, battling for the bronze. Belbin and Agosto earned 99.74 for their "Ave Maria" routine; Domnina and Shabalin scored 101.04 for the bronze.

The real story of the night was the breakthrough of North American ice dancers. Europe had long held a stranglehold on ice dancing, and though Americans and Canadians had placed before, Virtue and Moir were the first to break through to the top.

The Canadian skaters brought some joy to a country that needed good news after losing to the U.S. in hockey and then giving up on "owning the podium." The joy felt by Canadians was symbolized by Virtue and Moir, proudly belting out "O Canada" from the top of the medal stand.

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