After shoring up the United States’ prospects of advancing to the medal round of figure skating’s new team event at the Sochi Olympics, ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White came off the ice to field questions about a report in the French magazine L’Equipe alleging that Russian and U.S. judges were colluding to help one another in the pairs and ice dance events.
“That’s the first time we’re hearing that,” said Davis, who combined with White, her skating partner of 17 years, to earn the top marks in the team event’s short program, lifting the U.S. from a three-way tie for fifth to third. The women’s short program, currently under way, will determined which five of the 10 countries entered will contend for medals on Sunday. “That’s unfortunate that there is an article, but we’re so focused on our jobs, and we really don’t know a lot about anything else. We’re confident that what we’re putting out on the ice speaks for itself. That’s what we stand behind.”
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The reigning world champions and 2010 Olympic silver medalists, Davis and White were the class of their field Saturday, skating to “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Their Canadian rivals were scored second, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Canadians ahead of Russia in the standings after three of the sport’s three disciplines were contested.
Said White, asked about the report that the U.S. could help Russia win the pairs and team medals, while Russia would help the U.S. (Davis and White) win the dance: “I think what’s great about is, having been together 17 years and been through the sport and the ups and downs, we sort of live by our own expectations. Coming into each event, we just want to come in and do our best.”
U.S. Figure Skating officials issued the following statement in response to the L’Equipe report:
“Comments made in a L’Equipe story are categorically false. There is no “help” between countries. We have no further response to rumors, anonymous sources or conjecture.”
Entering the women’s short, which will be skated by Alexandria’s Ashley Wagner, Russia is in first, with 27 points. Canada is second (26), followed by the U.S. (20), France (17) and China (16). Wagner, a West Potomac graduate, is up seventh, at 9:04 p.m. (12:04 p.m. ET). She’ll be followed by an imposing trio: Russia’s 15-year-old jumping phenom, Julia Lipnitskaia; 2010 Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion Mao Asada of Japan; and Italy’s Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion.