Pre-Worlds article

American ice dancers seek second world title

by on Mar. 13, 2012

An impressive streak ended last month for Canton-based ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White when they placed second behind training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada at the Four Continents Championships.

Davis and White had won 10 consecutive competitions over a span of nearly two years, with the biggest prize coming last April in Moscow, when they became the first-ever American gold medalists in the 59-year history of ice dance at the world championships.

In that event, Davis and White were second behind Virtue and Moir after the short dance, but overtook the Canadians for the world title after winning the free dance.

The roles were reversed last month at Four Continents. This time, it was the Canadians who delivered the best performance in the end, winning the free dance — and the gold medal.

With worlds returning in two weeks to Nice in the French Riviera for the first time since 2000, Davis and White will try to become the first repeat world champions since Bulgarians Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski (2006-07).

And, of course, they’ll expect another tug-of-war for the title with their training mates from Canada.

“I think the rivalry we have with Scott and Tessa both puts us in the position of the hunter, in that we’re so close, and there’s so much at stake, and we both are working so hard on a daily basis,” Davis said.

On Tuesday, Davis and White talked about their preparations for worlds on a teleconference call. Here are highlights of their conversation:

On how their training has been since Four Continents:

Davis: “Charlie and I are training harder than we’ve ever trained before and that’s saying something because we usually train really hard. We’ve had a great season, and coming off Four Continents Championship, we have a little bit more fire in our bellies. Even though we felt pretty motivated before, I think we’re really excited to go and defend our world title in Nice.”

White: “It’s such a close competition between us, and Scott and Tessa,that it can come down to little things. We’re really doing our best to make sure we’re on top of our game and ready to go.”

On heading into worlds as reigning champions despite finishing second in Colorado Springs last month:

White: “Throughout major competitions through our career, we’ve always had a tendency to come from behind and surprise people. But obviously, we don’t have that luxury anymore. We’ve adjusted well — I think sort of being the world champions and having everybody gunning for us — but also coming off the loss, I think it’s one more thing to throw into the pot to help us get ready and prepare.”

On the possibility of winning back-to-back world titles:

Davis: “I think going into that world championships last year, that was weighing heavily on our minds, just the possibility of becoming the first American world champions. I think this year we’re going in with a little bit different mentality, a little bit more, I think, of a personal focus. I don’t think we really feel the pressure of that history-making moment going into worlds this year.”

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