SOCHI, Russia — Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the ice dance gold medal today, the first Olympic title in the event for the United States.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, the 2010 champions, took silver. Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov captured bronze.
Davis and White won silver in Vancouver in 2010, but in the four years since they have overtaken the Canadians, their training partners in Detroit.
The Americans, the reigning world champs, scored 116.63 points in the free dance to finish with 195.52, 4.53 ahead of Virtue and Moir.
When the music from “Sheherazade” ended with White on a knee, Davis rested her head on his back in exhausted elation. The two started skating together in 1997 in Michigan, and on the biggest day of their career, they were nearly flawless.
“That in itself justified 17 years of hard work,” White, 26, said.
As the music swelled over the final minute of the program, their feet were in nonstop motion yet every movement was intricately choreographed. Their lifts were a blur as White spun across the ice with Davis held aloft, their movements and expressions still fierce despite the draining demands of the performance.
As they told the story of the Persian king and the woman who enchants him, White was regal in purple velvet, Davis beguiling in a lavender dress with jewels shimmering on her midriff.
They now have one medal of each color after winning bronze in the new team event in Sochi.
“We have grown up in every sense of the word,” Davis, 27, said of the partnership that took them to Olympic gold.