SOCHI, Russia, Feb 8 (Reuters) - World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White produced a stunning short dance to haul the United States into medal contention in the inaugural figure skating team event at the Sochi Olympics.
Their expected toe-to-toe battle with 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir failed to materialise as the Canadians paid the price for going out of sync in their side-by-side twizzles.
Davis and White's beautiful Foxtrot and Quickstep interpretation to a medley of songs from 'My Fair Lady' saw them blow away the competition with a score of 75.98 to earn 10 valuable points for the United States.
The United States had been in danger of missing the cut for the second section of the competition following a poor showing by Jeremy Abbott on the opening day of the competition.
But Davis and White's fast-paced footwork and intricate choreography lifted the United States from seventh to third in the standings.
With only the women's short programme remaining, Russia lead with 27 points, while Canada (26), the United States (20), France (17) and China (16) occupy the other top five spots.
The team event features 10 nations and each country has one representative competing in men's singles, women's singles, pairs and ice dancing. They each perform a short programme, after which the top five nations battle it out for the medals by competing in the free skates.
Ten points are awarded for finishing first in a programme, nine for second, and so on. (Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Peter Rutherford)