It was a golden and elegant four-minute ice dance 17 years in the making.
Last night U.S. figure skaters Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the first gold medal for their home country in the Olympic ice dancing event by beating their friendly Canadian training partners, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir by four points. Their storytelling dance left the crowd and fellow competitors in awe.
On Sunday, in their short program event, Davis and White skated their way on top of the leaderboard with a score of 78.89 – just two points ahead of the 2010 Olympic gold medalists, Virtue and Moir of Canada.
Following up their short ice dance peformance, Davis and White waited and watched others compete for a spot on the podium as they were the last pair to perform in the final free dance event a day later in the Iceberg Skating Palace.
After a long wait, the 6-time U.S. national champions were looking to grab their first Olympic gold and the first for the United States in the Olympic event. Pressure was on, as the ice dancing duo have performed together since they were 10 years old, and were looking for redemption as they fell short of the gold medal four years ago and grabbed a silver in Vancouver.
As the music from “Scheherazade” began, White dressed up in a purple velvet costume that portrayed a Persian King, and Davis in a lavender dress with jewels as the woman who enchants the Persian King in a storytelling routine.
With graceful lifts, fierce expressions, and beautifully choreographed movements they elegantly skated across the ice rink in their artistic storytelling and tiring four-minute routine. As the music stopped and the crowd cheered, little did they know that their exhausting and physically demanding free dance ended on top of the podium.
With a score 116.63 in their free dance event, the Michigan natives were on top of the final leaderboard with an overall score of 195.52 making them Olympic gold medalists.
“I can’t – I couldn’t even begin to. I mean were so excited but I think were kinda in shock a little,” said Davis in an interview before the flower ceremony with NBC’s Andrea Joyce on describing her emotions as an Olympic champion. “I’m excited but I’m not really sure what I’m feeling – I don’t even know what’s going on.”
“I felt like we done everything that we could. From the beginning from this competition that we’ve practice. The team event, this event – We did everything that we could and that in itself was justified 17 years of hard work,” said White in the interview on thoughts after the free dance whether it was a gold medal skate. “…To come away with a gold medal is amazing.”
The U.S. ice dancers were lost for words, but were humble and thankful for all the support they received over the years.
Now the ice skating duo from Michigan will come home with a bronze medal in the team event and a gold medal from their nearly flawless and historic performance on Monday.
You can follow David Pradel on Twitter: @davepradel_