Sochi, Russia — A sultry performance that lasted four spellbinding minutes, but was 17 years in the making, propelled Meryl Davis and Charlie White to become the first Americans to win the Olympic ice dance title at the Sochi Games on Monday.
In a showdown with rivals and Canadian training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the American couple proved a cut above the rest by winning with a world record total of 195.52.
An adventure that began rather tentatively in 1997 when a nine-year-old Davis was left blushing and tongue-tied after being told to gaze deeply into her eight-year-old partner’s eyes, ended on Monday with the duo exchanging looks of joy.
“We’re so excited, we’re kind of in shock a little. I’m not sure what we’re feeling,” a beaming Davis told reporters after improving on their silver medal from four years ago.
“It kind of all came together for us and we’re so pleased to be here. We’re kind of in disbelief.”
White, who is Jewish, added: “To come away with a gold medal is amazing… And 17 years of hard work was justified.”
From the moment the Americans stepped on the ice, with Davis wearing a sequined purple halter neck dress and White in an embroidered velvet jacket, the crowd waited with bated breath to see which side of the International Boundary the gold medal would end up in.
The Americans were soon showing why they have been unbeatable for 22 months.
They flew around the ice at a frantic pace, seamlessly weaving dazzling lifts and synchronised twizzles into their dramatic performance of Scheherazade - the story of a sultan’s wife whose enchanting tales stopped her husband’s bizarre habit of marrying a new wife every day and beheading the previous one.
When White held aloft Davis in the splits as he spun around rapidly, the crowd cheered.