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2014 Olympic figure skating: Davis and White gold medal-ready after short dance

Meryl Davis and Charlie White compete in ice dancing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White compete in ice dancing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

A world record-setting effort by Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White in the Feb. 16 short dance round of the ice dancing competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia put the duo in first place heading into the Feb. 17 finals and in excellent position to claim the gold medal.

Skating a dance choreographed by "Dancing with the Stars" pro and Emmy winner Derek Hough, the reigning World Champions looked at ease as they closed out the discipline's first day of competition with their gorgeous foxtrot and quickstep creation. Their monster score of 78.89 was the highest short program mark ever posted by a couple under the current scoring system, and bested that of chief rivals and training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (76.33) of Canada by more than two points. Russians Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov enter the free dance in bronze medal position.

The other Americans in the mix also rank in the top 10 after day one. Reigning U.S. national silver medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates are eighth, while siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani are ninth.

Davis and White's world record is the second they've set at the 2014 Olympic Games. The first came during the free skate round of the team competition, which saw them post a never-before-attained mark of 114.34 that bested the record they set at the 2013 Grand Prix Final.

The duo hopes to top reigning Olympic champions Virtue and Moir to win the gold medal that eluded them four years ago in Vancouver. If they succeed, they will become the United States' first-ever Olympic ice dancing champs.

The free dance round of the ice dancing competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi begins Feb. 17 at 7 AM Pacific time.