Figure skating: Davis, White skate to ice dance win

Posted at 11/24/2012 5:52 PM | Updated as of 11/24/2012 5:52 PM

RIFU, Japan - The American ice dancing duo of Meryl Davis and Charlie White skated their way to a massive victory at the NHK Trophy Saturday, the sixth and last leg in the ISU figure skating Grand Prix series.

The 2011 world champions collected 108.62 points in the free dance to win the event overall with 178.48 points, 21.86 points clear of Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov.

Fellow Americans Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani finished third on 154.56.

Going out with a 9.02-point lead from the short dance on Friday, Davis and White hit a maximum level-four in a spin, a synchronised twizzle and three kinds of lifts to the music of "Notre Dame de Paris" by Richard Cocciante.

The Russians, third in the short dance behind the two US couples, managed to score 96.66 points in the long programme.

It was the second GP victory this year for Davis and White who took the season-opening Skate America title, propelling them into the Grand Prix Final next month at the 2014 Olympic venue in Sochi, Russia.

In the series, each skater has been allowed to compete in just two events and the rankings are based on placement with 15 points going to the winner.

In the final they will join their Canadian archrivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who beat them into second spot at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and this year's world championships.

Virtue and Moir won 2012 GP events in Canada and Russia.

"We really feel like we are out there competing against ourselves, trying to be just the best we can be, just to make sure the judges know that we are putting everything out there," White said when asked about how to keep motivated in the absence of strong competitors.

"That's really been the key to our success for all these years.

"Moving forward, we're gonna continue doing the same and everything is going to keep building up toward the worlds."

The world championships take place in Canada next March.

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