IceNetwork Pre-Worlds article

Davis, White riding high heading to Moscow

No changes in programs since Four Continents

By Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com

(04/20/2011) - Tuesday, Canadian Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir told reporters the month's delay in holding the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championships had worked to their advantage.

The following day, their training partners and chief rivals for gold, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, said the same thing.

"Charlie and I are feeling great right now," Davis, 24, said. "Once we figured out the schedule for worlds, it was kind of a light at the end of the tunnel, and with the extra time training, we feel more confident than before." "We're in the best shape of our careers," White, 23, said. "When you're in season, it gets hectic...you train as hard as you can but don't want to over train. With the longer time, we've been able to work our way down, then back up.

"We have a great shot at winning, we love the material we have now; it's really grown on us. We're not worn down; we're looking forward to the process of competing."

Unlike the Canadians, Davis and White -- who have won all five events they have entered this season, including their second consecutive Grand Prix Final and third U.S. title -- have made no changes to either of their programs since the 2011 ISU Four Continents Championships in Taipei in February.

There, the Americans placed second to the Canadians in the short dance, but won the event after Virtue and Moir withdrew during their free dance, citing an injury to Virtue's thigh.

White acknowledged that world gold will likely come down to a showdown between the two teams, who both train under Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva in Canton, Mich.

"We always have them around to push us," he said. "It's nice to see [a team] out there all the time that's so amazing.

"Your program is never perfect...we've used this opportunity to polish our programs and they've done the same thing. We've taken advantage of the situation."

The 2011 World Championships, which kick off early next week with the qualifying rounds, marks Davis and White's third time competing at Moscow's Megasport Arena, built in 2006.

"It has good ice, a nice temperature, the crowds are amazing," Davis said.

The Americans leave for Moscow on Monday afternoon, two days after Virtue and Moir's departure.

U.S. ice dance teams have won world silver eight times, with Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto accomplishing the feat twice, in 2005 and 2007.

In Moscow, Davis and White -- who placed second to Virtue and Moir at both the 2010 Olympics and 2010 worlds -- have an excellent chance to become the first-ever U.S. world ice dance champions.

"I don't think about it that often," White said. "We don't talk about it. When we're on the ice, we're focused on our training...We are doing a lot of interviews lately, and we're asked about it a lot, so in that respect it's on our minds.

"The most important thing for us is to let our skating do the talking...we've put ourselves in a good position."

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