Davis/White lead ice dance, Russian pair wins in Tokyo

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Fourteenth time’s a charm? American ice dance team Meryl Davis and Charlie White are halfway to their 14th straight Grand Prix gold medal, skating to first place at the NHK Trophy in Tokyo Saturday.

Davis/White, the reigning world champions and 2010 Olympic silver medalists, scored a 73.70 to lead Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, who registered a 64.58. The American team of Maia and Alex Shibutani were in third place.

In the pairs competition, another team of reigning world champions skated on Saturday as Russians Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov won the pairs event with a total score of 236.49 following the free skate.

The Russian team, seen as their country’s best hope for a gold medal at the Sochi Games, were a point shy of their personal best (and world record), 237.71, set last month at Skate America.

Peng Cheng and Zhang Hao of China were far back in second in the pairs event, scoring a 182.18. Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, also of China, were third.

“We skate like in Russia, at home,” said Trankov, 30, to the crowd. “Thank you for your wild cheers.”

Davis/White are facing a similar field from Skate America a month ago, where Cappellini/Lanotte and the Shibutani siblings were their biggest competitors. Davis/White haven’t placed below first at a Grand Prix event since 2008, winning golds in their 13 appearances since.

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