Davis, White run away with Nebelhorn gold

Zaretski siblings take home silver medal

Meryl Davis and Charlie White impressed the crowd with their <i>Phantom of the Opera</i> free dance.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White impressed the crowd with their Phantom of the Opera free dance. (Paul Harvath)


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By J. Barry Mittan, special to
(09/26/2009) - U.S. ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White won their first gold medal at the Nebelhorn Trophy by scoring 100.76 points in their free dance and finishing with 200.46 points overall.

The couple skated to Phantom of the Opera, receiving a standing ovation from the crowd at the conclusion of their spectacular program, which include some fantastic new lifts with multiple changes of position.

"It's a very demanding program, but we love it," Davis noted. "The audience response meant the world to us."

"It's quite a change of pace," White said. "We're using the Broadway version except for the last instrumental piece,"

"We reviewed a lot of music after worlds," Davis recalled, "but we kept coming back to Phantom. We had a lot of different versions of the music."

"It's a generalization of the story itself," White said. "We didn't have to go with the whole structure of the movie. There's the mystery when they meet, then the phantom gets Christine to love him, then he reveals his face at the end."

Alexandra Zaretski and Roman Zaretski of Israel, who skated to Schindler's List, earned 84.54 points in their free dance to place second in the segment and win the silver medal with 169.59 points, more than 30 points behind the Americans.

"We made no major mistakes, so we're happy for the first time doing this program," Alexandra Zaretski said.

"We've always wanted to skate to this music," her brother, Roman, said. "It's close to our hearts. The music evokes a passion in us that we want to communicate to the audience. Sometimes it makes me cry."

Lithuania's Katherine Copely and Deividas Stagniunas, who danced to West Side Story, earned 82.70 points to place third in the free dance and won the bronze medal with 162.02 total points.

"We skated the program well," Copely said. "The audience response as the elements went by really buoyed us."

The Russian team of Ekaterina Riazanova and Ilia Tkachenko used the motion picture soundtrack of Master and Margarita for their free dance. They placed fourth with 79.33 points, giving them fourth place overall with 149.85 points.

"We've only been together six months, and this was our first senior competition so we were fine with the results," Tkachenko said. "Our program today was OK, but nothing special."

Xintong Huang and Xun Zheng of China jumped from eighth to fifth overall with 149.85 points dancing to "Adagio" by Tomaso Albinoni. They were also fifth in the free dance with 76.02 points.

Czechs Lucie Mysliveckova and Matej Novak placed seventh with their free dance to "Blues for Klook" and sixth overall with 73.98 and 148.43 points respectively.

"We love the blues," Mysliveckova said. "Povilas Vanagas helped us with the program."

Hungary's Nora Hoffman and Maxim Zavozin, skating to "So Excited" by Janet Jackson, "Hush, Hush" by the Pussycat Dolls and "Rock This Party" for their free dance, placed seventh overall.

British dancers Christina Chitwood and Mark Hanretty used "Tango de Roxanne" from the motion picture soundtrack of Moulin Rouge for their free dance. They finished in eighth place.

The countries qualifying for the Olympics in dance were China, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, and Hungary.