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New Darlings in Ice Skating

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Everybody loves figure skating, right? I mean, what's not to love about figure skating? Take the most graceful and acrobatic aspects of dancing and add to that the ice. These ladies and gentleman are clearly some of the most skilled athletes in the world. Or artists – their discipline muddles those waters. Beautifully.

Then there are the costumes, just as beautiful as in ballet only not as… odd. I mean, the men don't wear tights and the ladies don't wear tutus. Instead they come out in inspiring confections of sparkles and spandex.

On the ice these athlete-artists then interpret thrilling or heart-wrenching or hilarious music. They leap, and we catch our breaths. They spin, and we are captivated. They glide, and we are enchanted. Yes, we love figure skating. So, it's no wonder that at every winter Olympics several figure skaters become our darlings.

Julia Lipnitskaia, Russia

There's always a darling from women's figure skating, whether an Oksana Baiul or a Michelle Kwan. We love beautiful figure skaters.

This year, it's Julia Lipnitskaia, a petite Russian beauty. She's already got the nod from Vladimir Putin – or a pat on the head, to be exact. But now she's just focusing on her skating.

To great effect, by the way. She helped the Russians win gold in the team ice dancing event. Now, however, she has the opportunity to win gold in the solo ladies short program for figure skating. If she does so, she'll be the first Russian woman to do so. Ever.

Then again, what do you expect from someone whom even fellow skaters call "a tiny genius"?

Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan

Everyone loves an underdog – and firsts. Yuzuru Hanyu has it covered on both sides. He was far from the favorite to win gold in the men's short program. Having done so, though, he is the first Japanese man to have won gold in that competition.

The heart-tugging part of that is that he actually fell – twice. Yet then he danced to "Romeo and Juliet" for his free skate, and the capacity crowd fell in love. So, too, did the judges it seems because he took gold.

Of course, this is a young man who has practically lives in his skates. He's been at it since the age of four. In fact, he was at the rink when Japan was hit by an earthquake in 2011. He was able to escape – with the skates still on his feet! This is one resilient young man – no wonder we love him!

Meryl Davis and Charlie White, USA

The newest darlings for pairs are Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who just dethroned Canadian favorites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

They delivered a beautiful, romantic ice dancing routine filled with twists and turns appropriate for their theme, "Scheherazade." And in the end? They embraced. We all fell in love.

Meryl and Charlie aren't actually dating. Sigh, of course – reality is never as much fun as the fantasy. Anyway, who cares about plain old dating? Their beauty on ice transcends… or maybe shows us what love looks like in our dreams.

And that's why Davis and White are our new ice dancing darlings.

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