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Canadians, US 1-2 in dance

Posted by John Powers, Globe Staff  February 23, 2010 12:06 AM

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- It took them half a century's worth of slips and shortfalls and one sordid scandal, but the Canadians finally won the Olympic gold medal in figure skating that had eluded them since 1960.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won last night's free dance inside the Pacific Coliseum to outpoint US couple Meryl Davis and Charlie White, 221.57 to 215.74. Taking the bronze were Russian world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, who edged 2006 silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the US, 207.64 to 203.07.

“To be standing on the podium with Tessa and Scott is amazing,” said Davis. “There is so much to be proud of right now.”

It also was the first time the Canadians had won the ice dance and the first time that they had made the podium since Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall earned bronze in Calgary in 1988. Although Jamie Sale and David Pelletier were awarded a share of the 2002 pairs gold with Russia's Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze in the wake of the Salt Lake judging controversy, it was the first time Canada actually had won a title on the ice since Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul won the pairs in 1960.

Davis and White, who'd finished just four-100ths of a point behind Virtue and Moir in fourth place at last year's world championships in Los Angeles, had climbed from third place after the compulsory dance to second after the original dance, 2.60 points behind the Canadians. The Americans had hoped to put two couples on the podium for the first time, but Belbin and Agosto were unable to make up ground on the Russians.

“This is very emotional,” said White. “It’s for our family, for our friends, for our coaches. All that hard work has paid off.”

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