A day after underdog Gracie Gold posted a towering short program score that gave her an unexpected lead in the ladies' competition at the 2014 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, predictability took over on Jan. 10 as World Champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White earned a staggering score of their own that put them where everyone expected them to be: in first place.
Davis and White, who are shoo-ins for the 2014 U.S. Olympic figure skating roster that will be officially revealed on Jan. 12, skated a beautiful short routine that earned them a U.S. championship record-breaking mark of 80.69. The dance, which was set to music from "My Fair Lady," was choreographed by Emmy winner and "Dancing with the Stars" pro Derek Hough.
The duo's nearest competitors, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, posted a new personal best mark of 73.41, bettering the mark they set at 2013 worlds (66.74) by more than six points. If they can hold ground during the Jan. 11 free skate, they will almost certainly join Davis and White in Sochi, leaving just one spot available for what will likely be one of two teams: Maia and Alex Shibutani, whose mark of 68.00 secured them third place, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who scored 66.69 to take fourth.
The free dance round, which will determine whether or not --or perhaps simply by how large a margin-- Davis and White will take their record-setting sixth national title, will take place Jan. 11 in Boston.