SOCHI, Russia (AP) — There's nothing world champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White don't know about defending Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. And vice versa.
It's only fitting that the longtime training partners and rivals who share the same coach will have another faceoff for a title at the Sochi Olympics on Monday night.
They did it four years ago in Vancouver, when the Canadians thrilled the home crowd by edging the Americans. This time, Davis and White are ahead by 2.56 points after winning the short dance.
"We're focused on the moment and the task at hand, the free dance," White said Sunday night as coach Marina Zoueva beamed, watching her four students joking and interacting at a news conference. "We're not looking to the future or the color of the medals. We have had a great start to this event and we treat it like any other event."
What the two leaders have is a comfortable margin over Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, which pretty much means another showdown for a major championship between the Americans and Canadians, who train together in Canton, Mich.
"We want that gold medal," Moir said, "but obviously we know they are great skaters and how hard they work and that they will bring a great skate."
White credits the development of the two teams to simply having each other around. Each couple has won two world titles — the Canadians have three silvers and a bronze, too, while the Americans own two silvers. They've established North America as the capital of ice dance when, for decades, the discipline belonged to Europeans, mostly Russians.