SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir aren't done yet.
They might use the six days between the Olympic figure skating team event and the ice dance competition to tweak their performances based on the reaction of the judges and the crowd. Since their programs have always evolved over the course of a season, they warn not to make predictions for the Sochi Games based on their recent marks.
In other words, just because the Canadians lost to Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White at the Grand Prix Final in early December doesn't guarantee the same result at the Olympics.
Maybe it's wishful thinking, or maybe the reigning gold medalists really can polish and perfect their dances to eke out the points to reclaim the top spot in the sport. Davis and White, the 2010 silver medalists and their training partners in Michigan, beat Virtue and Moir at the world championships in March and arrive in Sochi as the favorites.
"We feel like we're peaking at the right time," Moir insisted Thursday. "We're a different team than we even were in December."
The first hint of whether the Americans still hold the edge comes Saturday when the two rivals are expected to compete in the short dance in the new team event. The free dance is Sunday.
The ice dance competition opens a week later.
Davis and White, also coached by Marina Zoueva, had that golden glitter throughout the Grand Prix season and U.S. Championships. They won by 1.35 points at the Grand Prix Final, an impressive margin against competition the caliber of Virtue and Moir.
"There's no denying that Meryl and Charlie are always ready, and they're ready early in the season," Virtue said. "I think that's a tribute to their training, and they're strong competitors. It's interesting how coming from the same coaching team, we can get there differently."
For Davis and White, the last four years have been all about moving up that one spot on the podium. No way Virtue and Moir could top what they accomplished in 2010, right? They won gold in their home country, the first Olympic ice dance champions from North America.
"We're not looking to repeat what we did in Vancouver; it's going to be completely different. This games is just for us," Moir said. "We've skated the last four years. We have the biggest title in this sport, and we wanted to make sure we pushed ourselves and experimented with the sport."