Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Three decades of European dominance ended in ice dancing as Canadian pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir claimed Olympic gold, becoming the first North American team to win the event.
At 20 and 22, respectively, Virtue and Moir are the youngest champions ever in the event, and their victory after a mesmerizing free dance Monday marked only the third time since ice dancing became an Olympic sport in 1976 that a Russian team did not win gold.
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The two join Great Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (1984) and French duo Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat (2002) as the only non-Russian ice-dancing victors.This time, Russians and reigning world champions Oksana Domnina and Maksim Shabalin, whose Aboriginal-inspired costumes were widely denounced as insensitive, earned bronze. Their medals continue a Russian streak on the podium that also dates back to 1976.
Check out Davis and White, and other Olympic athletes to keep an eye on in Vancouver
Two-time U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the silver. Davis and White, who are friends and training partners of the Canadians, won the 25th medal of the games for the U.S., equaling the country's total haul in Torino. Their teammates, Tanith Belbin
and Ben Agosto
, who won the first American ice dancing medal in 30 years by nabbing silver in Torino, finished in fourth place.The leaders after Friday's compulsory dance and Sunday's original dance, Virtue and Moir delivered an enchanting free dance to Gustav Mahler's "Symphony No. 5," earning 110.42 points. Their total of 221.57 points was nearly 6 points ahead of Davis and White's score. When the numbers were announced, Moir jumped to his feet and let out a loud scream, while Virtue's mouth dropped in awe and the hometown fans roared.
Watch Virtue and Moir's original dance
Virtue and Moir are only Canada's fourth Olympic champions in figure skating, following 1948 ladies' winner Barbara Ann Scott, 1960 pairs winners Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul, and Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, the 2002 co-champions in pairs. Other winners included Norway in the men's cross-country team sprint, Germany in the women's cross-country team sprint and Austria in the team ski jumping (long hill).