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Old 04-30-2011, 11:03 PM   #1
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Default World Figure skating results!

Pretty awesome that USA ice dancers made history by taking Gold in the Worlds!!!! in Moscow no less!!!!

American Ice Dancers Tango to Gold, Nation’s First on World Stage
Published: April 30, 2011
NY Times

MOSCOW — With a gold medal dangling from his neck, Charlie White was laughing near the sheet of ice where he and Meryl Davis had just made figure-skating history — laughing at the improbable circumstances that accompanied the first world championship by an American ice dancing team.

The Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the first world gold medal in ice dance for the United States.

Miki Ando, right, won the world championship in Moscow Saturday. Kim Yu-na of South Korea, at left, the reigning Olympic champion, was second.
Their triumph, secured despite stiff resistance from the Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, had come in, of all places, Moscow, one of the power bases of Soviet and then Russian hegemony during the 30 years they dominated the ice-dancing discipline. And to give Saturday’s emotional victory even more of a full-circle feeling, the Americans won with the guidance of two Russian coaches born in Moscow who later emigrated — Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva.

“It really is amazing,” White said. “There are so many coincidences in life. If one little thing hadn’t gone our way, who’s to say where we’d be at? But all we can do is be thankful and be proud of what we’re able to accomplish.”

Shpilband and Zoueva looked understandably proud of themselves after orchestrating the 2011 version of “Own the Podium.” All of Saturday’s medalists train under them at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Mich., and for the first time in world championships history, all three ice dance teams on the podium were North American. The Canadians Virtue and Moir won the silver medal, and the American brother-sister team of Maia and Alex Shibutani stunningly won the bronze after Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, the reigning European champions from France, fell during their free program and ended up fourth.

Asked about the sweep, Moir — no introvert — shouted “Woo-hoo-hoo!”

His coach opted for actual words. “To see three North American teams on the podium, it’s a great achievement, 20 years of work, so fantastic,” said Shpilband, 46, a former world junior champion in ice dancing for the Soviet Union who defected in 1990 and is now an American citizen.

The breakup of the Soviet Union and the spread of its coaching expertise abroad has had a huge effect on figure skating. The women’s competition earlier on Saturday was another example as Miki Ando of Japan, long coached by the globe-trotting Russian Nikolai Morozov, won a second world title to go with her gold medal from Tokyo in 2007.

If all had gone according to plan, these championships would have been in Tokyo, too. But the national tragedy that began with a powerful earthquake that resulted in a tsunami March 11 changed all that, just as it has disrupted so many plans and lives.

There were still hundreds of Japanese fans at Megasport Arena here, still millions more watching on television at home, and Ando did not disappoint them. Despite a glitch or two in her free program and despite performing before the reigning Olympic champion Kim Yu-na in the final group, Ando won a gold at a moment when her country was certainly in need of a lift.

“Maybe I was able to bring back a little smile to the people of Japan,” Ando said.

Kim, a 20-year-old South Korean who won the Olympic title in grand style last year, has now lost her last two competitions. She finished second to Mao Asada at last year’s world championships in Turin, Italy, and then finished second again here after taking nearly the entire season off when she left her training base in Toronto and the Canadian coach Brian Orser for the Los Angeles area and her new American coach, Peter Oppegard.

She had not competed in more than a year, and it showed, as she stumbled out of her opening jump in Friday’s short program and then downshifted on two more of her jumps on Saturday. Though Kim landed her opening triple lutz-triple toe combination, she misfired on her next two elements. A planned triple salchow-double toe combination jump became a triple salchow-single toe, and she then singled a planned triple flip, the only jump that had given her consistent trouble during training sessions this week in Moscow.

Ando’s total score was 195.79 points to Kim’s 194.50. Carolina Kostner of Italy took the bronze with 184.68 points. Alissa Czisny, the United States champion who has made a strong comeback this season at age 23, ended up fifth and might have challenged for a medal if she had not fallen on her opening jump, a triple lutz.

Instead, the only American medals at these championships came in ice dancing. Davis is a 24-year-old with a ballerina’s build and bearing. White is a wavy-haired 23-year-old who is a former hockey player and singles skater. They have been a team since 1997, when they were paired together at the Detroit Skating Club.

They finished second last year at both the Olympics and world championships to Virtue and Moir, who provided one of the signature moments for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Games with their deeply romantic, stirring free program. But the post-Olympic season belonged to their training partners. Virtue and Moir missed the early season when Virtue developed a chronic calf problem that required surgery. When they returned, they were unable to complete their free program at the Four Continents Championships in February because of another injury.

Until Saturday, they had not performed their entire free dance in competition this season. Though it was a spirited, remarkable debut — full of their hallmark energy — White and Davis followed them on the ice and answered the challenge with their intricate, demanding tango routine. Though other American teams have come close to the title, Davis and White will always be the first.

“It means the world to us,” White said. “We’ve been together for so long, and persevered through everything that we’ve been through, and you know when we first started out, no one really thought we were going to be much of a dance team. We were too short. We were too young. We didn’t have balletic enough posture, so it’s sort of nice to prove people wrong, but that’s not why we’re doing it. I think we love the sport. We love what we’ve been able to do with it, the direction it’s going.”

The North American school has emphasized athleticism as much as lyricism, and Davis and White earned the highest technical element scores and program component scores of any team for their free dance. Final intramural scoreline: 185.27 total points for Davis and White, 181.79 for Virtue and Moir, 163.79 for 16-year-old Maia Shibutani and her 20-year-old brother, Alex, in their world championship debut.

“You’re not kids anymore,” Moir teased at a news conference after the competition. “You got yourself a world bronze medal. Maybe I’ll have to stop being as friendly to you.”

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Old 05-01-2011, 05:48 AM   #2
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Old 05-01-2011, 06:22 AM   #3
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figure skating , ice dancing

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