World Skater Rankings: Dissecting the dancersTeam USA's Davis, White remain on top; Canadians Virtue, Moir follow closely behind
Icenetwork.com is revealing one discipline in the initial World Skater Rankings each of the next four weeks. This week we look at ice dance, where Team USA's Meryl Davis and Charlie White sit atop the throne.
1. Davis and White, United States (4373.00) -- It was a resurgent season for this powerhouse duo, as Davis and White rebounded from silvers at the 2012 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and 2012 World Figure Skating Championships to rattle off a perfect season. They vanquished their Canadian archrivals, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, at the 2012 Grand Prix Final, 2013 Four Continents Championships and -- in London, Ontario -- at the 2013 World Championships. These two-time world champions now have their sights set on Olympic gold.
2. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada (3611.80) -- The reigning Olympic gold medalists played second fiddle to Davis and White in 2012-13, a trend they hope to reverse this season. As expected, they triumphed at Skate Canada and Rostelecom Cup, and they secured their fifth Canadian title in January. They will almost assuredly take gold or silver at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
3. Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat, France (2434.40) -- The 2012 world bronze medalists held on to the third spot in the rankings despite missing the 2013 European Figure Skating Championships and sliding into sixth place at worlds. Their résumé was boosted by victories at Cup of China and Trophée Eric Bompard, and they snagged the bronze at the Grand Prix Final. Making the Olympic podium will be their goal.
4. Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, Russia (2387.70) -- Bobrova and Soloviev enjoyed a banner season, especially in the calendar year 2013, when the Muscovites claimed their first European title and snagged bronze at the world championships. The three-time reigning Russian champions will likely battle Péchalat and Bourzat for bronze in Sochi.
5. Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, Russia (1757.50) -- With silver-medal finishes at Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy, Ilinykh and Katsalapov qualified for their first Grand Prix final. They also catapulted into second at the European championships, but their ninth-place finish at worlds was a downgrade from their fifth-place result in 2012 and seventh-place result in 2011.
6. Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, Italy (1647.44) -- These Italian trailblazers easily had their best season since teaming up in 2005. They made their first Grand Prix Final since 2009, reached the podium at Europeans and landed in an impressive fourth overall at the world championships. They also bagged their second straight Italian title.
7. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, Canada (1192.10) -- Weaver and Poje dipped three spots from last season's rankings, but it was partly out of their hands: Weaver's ankle injury knocked them out of Canadian nationals and Four Continents. They rebounded nicely at worlds, placing fifth, but this promising duo will need to be in top form if they want to challenge the French and Russians for an Olympic podium spot.
8. Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, United States (1173.26) -- The Shibutani siblings regressed some in 2012-13, missing out on the Grand Prix Final and dropping from second to third on the national level. For the second straight year, they finished fourth at Four Continents and eighth at worlds. They showed they were capable of competing with the world's best when they captured world bronze in 2011, so they will be looking for a rejuvenated run in 2013-14.
9. Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko, Russia (1127.32) -- Riazanova and Tkachenko, who teamed up in 2009, put together a steady season in which they placed fourth at Europeans, third at the Russian championships and 11th at worlds. They also added two medals to their trophy cases with third-place finishes at Skate Canada and Trophée Eric Bompard.
10. Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin, Russia (1098.00) -- The future is extremely bright for Stepanova and Bukin as they ascend to the senior level. They accomplished all they could last season on the junior level, winning both of their Junior Grand Prix assignments and the Junior Grand Prix Final, along with the 2013 World Junior Championships. They will find out just how good they are when they compete against senior-level competition.
Next five: Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi (Germany), Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland (Great Britain), Victoria Sinitsina and Ruslan Zhiganshin (Russia), Madison Chock and Evan Bates (U.S.), Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones (France)