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Meryl Davis and Charlie White win gold in ice dancing

Meryl Davis is lifted by Charlie White during their gold-medal performance in Monday’s free dance. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Meryl Davis is lifted by Charlie White during their gold-medal performance in Monday’s free dance.

SOCHI, Russia — Meryl Davis and Charlie White made Olympic history Monday by becoming the first United States dance couple to win the gold medal, dethroning Canadian defending champions and practice partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir by more than 4½ points at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

While Virtue and Moir had won the gold medal ahead of Davis and White on their home ice in Vancouver in 2010, they and the Americans, who’ve trained together for years at a Detroit suburban rink, have split the last four world titles, with the 27-year-old Davis and the 26-year-old White knocking off the Canadians at last year’s championships in London, Ontario.

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Since then, the University of Michigan undergraduates, who’ve been skating together for 17 years, beat Virtue and Moir at the Grand Prix final for their fifth consecutive crown, and they came into the finale here with a lead of 2.56 points. The Americans’ “Scheherazade” number, executed with speed, intricacy, and flair, also won them the free dance and gave them the victory by a considerable margin of 195.52 to 190.99.

Russia’s Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov won the bronze medal with 183.48 points, more than 6 points ahead of France’s Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat. Placing fifth were Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, last year’s world bronze medalists.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates and siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani finished eighth and ninth in what were the best combined US placements since the event was added to the Olympic program in 1976. Taken with the bronze in the new team event, the dance gold equaled the US medal performance from 2010.

John Powers can be reached at jpowers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jpowizglobe
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