SOCHI, Russia – If Charlie White has his way, the United States will fall in love with ice dance, now that he and partner Meryl Davis clinched an Olympic gold medal on Monday.
Davis and White ended the U.S.'s long drought in the Winter Games ice dance competition – all of the nation's 14 Olympic figure skating golds had come in men's or ladies' singles.
Ice dance has long been overlooked compared with figure skating's other disciplines, but White hopes that this historic triumph at the Iceberg Skating Palace can shift the way American fans perceive it.
"Over the last few years we have really been able to take this sport and run in a positive direction," White said. "Ice dance has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go and I am excited to see where that takes it.
"We love what we do and this is the culmination of everything we have worked towards for all this time. We hope that people can appreciate what we do and that it will continue moving forwards."
Davis and White won silver at the Vancouver Games four years ago behind their firm friends, Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who claimed silver here. The Americans were too strong on Monday, dominating all scoring aspects of the free dance and finishing with a total score of 195.52 to easily beat Virtue and Moir's 190.99.
A lucrative tour of America is now likely for Davis and White, who will have further chances to boost their popularity back home in the months after the Games.
"We are really excited about where the sport is now," Davis said. "For ice dancing in the U.S. it is going to be something that continues to grow in an exciting new direction, so to be part of it at this time is an incredible honor."
White admitted the failure to win gold in Vancouver had been painful, but the disappointment had driven him and Davis to push themselves harder. The effort paid off here in Russia.
"We learned a lot about ourselves as people that you don't learn otherwise," White said. "We know that if we are not perfect you can forget about your dreams. That constant striving for perfection – you have to figure out what it is going to take to get there. There is a lot of soul searching."
Virtue and Moir became the first Canadians to win three Olympic medals in figure skating, having also won silver here in the team competition. Moir dropped several hints that the duo's competitive careers could be over.
Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia came in third. American tandems of Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Maia and Alex Shibutani finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
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