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Category: Ice dancing

Day by day: U.S. Olympic medal haul so far

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The U.S. has won 26 medals through Tuesday, Feb. 23, with seven gold, nine silver and 10 bronze.

Sarah D. Morris: An appreciation for ice dancing

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Monday night Olympic history was made. For the first time since Olympic ice dancing debuted in 1976, a pair of dancers from North America won the gold medal. On home ice, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who skated with grace and elegance, were clearly above other pairs. The American pair of Meryl Davis and Charlie White showed power and speed as they earned the silver. For one of the few times since ice dancing has become an Olympic sport, the Russians didn't earn the gold but Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin captured the bronze.

Ice dancing doesn't have jumps and spins. Its lifts must be unique because the men can't lift the ladies over their head. Lifts shouldn't stop the flow of the dance. Everyone agreed who won a well skated competition. 

Since ice dancing doesn't have eye-catching moves like most figure skating, many people don't have an appreciation for the sport. Footwork sequences are crucial. Ice dancing has a close correlation to ballroom dancing and ballet. Russia has a rich ballet background, so it is understandable Russians have dominated ice dancing.  Great pairs make the audience feel what they want us to feel. The ice dancers need to be dramatic and need to relate to their chosen music. Although ice dancing is an art form, it is a sport. The ice dancers might not wow us with their breathtaking triple and quadruple jumps, but they must be accomplished skaters, arguably the best pure skaters in the Olympic figure skating competition.

In most Olympic skating competitions, flaws mar the beauty of the performances. However, on Monday no one made a noticeable mistake, and it was nice to see. Mostly in the past, I have found ice dancing boring because I didn't understand the specific difficult elements. However, this Olympic Games I have a better understanding, so I found the top ice dancers incredible. With their unbelievable grace and understanding of the music, I developed a new appreciation for the endurance-demanding sport. 

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada win gold in ice dancing

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won the gold medal in the ice dance competition Monday night, scoring 110.42 points on their free dance (danced to Symphony No. 5 by Mahler) to finish with 221.57 points and a comfortable victory over training partners Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S.

Davis and White, who danced to music from "The Phantom of the Opera," finished with 215.74 points for the silver medal.

Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, whose Aboriginal-themed routine caused an uproar and made them the focus of all the attention coming into Vancouver, won the bronze, scoring 207.64 points.

The 2006 Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the U.S. finished fourth with 203.07 points.

-- Houston Mitchell in Vancouver, Canada

Photo: Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue. Credit: Yuri Kadobnov, AFP/Getty Images


Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada lead in ice dance

Olyblog Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir lead in ice dance after Sunday night's original dance.

Their flamenco earned 68.41 points, giving them 111.15 points overall. They lead Meryl Davis and Charlie Scott of the U.S. by 2.60 points.

World champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia are in third palace with 106.60 points.

The 2006 Olympic silver medalists, Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, are in fourth with 103.33 points.

The ice-dance competition concludes Monday night with the free dance.

-- Houston Mitchell in Vancouver, Canada

Photo: Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin wear their controversial aborigine outfits during the ice dance competition Sunday. Credit: Anatoly Maltsev / EPA.


  


Davis-White third, Belbin-Agosto fourth after compulsory dance

Meryl Davis (West Bloomfield, Mich.) and Charlie White (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) were third and Tanith Belbin (Aston, Pa.) and Ben Agosto (Chicago) fourth after the compulsory program in ice dancing competition at the Vancouver Games.

Davis/White received a score of 41.47, 1.27 behind the second-place team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada. Belbin/Agosto received a 40.83, 2.93 off the leaders, Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia. Emily Samuelson (Novi, Mich.) and Evan Bates (Ann Arbor, Mich.) were 14th with a 31.37.

The original dance will be held Sunday, Feb. 21, at 4:15 p.m. PST, with the free dance scheduled for Monday, Feb. 22, at 4:45 p.m. PST.

-- Houston Mitchell in Vancouver, Canada


And in the nightcap ... Slovakia upsets Russia in a shootout

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A great game between Russia and Slovakia ended just past 11:30 p.m. Pacific time with Slovakia upsetting tournament favorite Russia, 2-1, in a seven-round shootout at Canada Hockey Place.

Goaltender Jaroslav Halak of Slovakia, who plays for the Montreal Canadiens, had to face sniper Alexander Ovechkin THREE times in the shootout and stopped him twice. Halak also stopped Alexei Morozov, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk and Evgeni Malkin.

Ilya Bryzgalov of Russia was no slouch either. He gave up a goal to former King Jozef Stumpel on the first shot and then stopped Demitra, Marian Hossa, Stumpel again, Kings center Michal Handzus and Marian Gaborik before Demitra -- who plays for the hometown Vancouver Canucks -- ended the spirited game.

-- Helene Elliott, reporting from Vancouver

Photo: Slovakia's Branko Radivojevic, left, Marcel Hossa, center, and Martin Strbak (77) rush to Pavol Demitra (38) after he scored the winning shootout goal against Russia on Thursday night. Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press


Ice dancing: Meryl Davis and Charlie White

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Current U.S. national ice dancing champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White are in the hunt for a gold medal. Here is their show-stopping straight line lift from their free dance program.

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto: Telling a story through dance

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Ice dancers use lifts and ballroom dance-like spins rather than the jumps and throws done by pairs skaters. Ben Agosto and Tanith Belbin, silver medalists at the 2006 Olympics, intertwine balletic skating with complex lifts in their routines.

Russian ice dancers changing controversial costuming [Updated]

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In the face of intense international criticism, Russian ice dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, the reigning world champions, are changing the costuming that has offended leaders of the Australian aboriginal community, the Tribune has learned.

Russian Figure Skating Federation President Valentin Piseev confirmed via telephone Friday that changes were being made before the Olympics. "I am aware of this [controversy],'' he said.

Piseev said the team will keep the supposedly aboriginal music, which has been called inauthentic by aboriginal leaders. "The music is OK,'' he said.
 
Asked about the changes a couple minutes into a telephone conversation, Natalia Linichuk, the team's coach, abruptly replied she could not talk until after practice Friday.
The Russians train in Aston, Pa., where Linichuk also coaches Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the 2006 Olympic silver medalists.

Because Shabalin has been battling a knee injury that kept the couple from competing on the Grand Prix circuit last fall, they did not debut the program internationally until last month's European Championships. [Updated 3:20 p.m. Friday The previous sentence originally did not include the word "internationally."] They performed it wearing brown face, tribal paint and costumes with clumps of faux foliage.

In a recent interview published on their website, Domnina said, "It was never our intent to insult or mock anybody's culture. Our intentions in creating this dance were honest and fair from the very beginning.''

-- Philip Hersh

Photo: Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin. Credit: Ivan Sekretarev / Associated Press


2010 Winter Olympics daily schedule

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Competition at the 2010 Winter Olympics begins at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, with the opening ceremony following at 6 p.m. The closing ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28.

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