Press Release

Davis, White dominate dance at NHK Trophy

Kerr, Kerr win silver; Crone, Poirier get bronze

Meryl Davis and Charlie White appear at No. 1 in the icenetwork.com world skater rankings in ice dancing for the second consecutive week.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White appear at No. 1 in the icenetwork.com world skater rankings in ice dancing for the second consecutive week. (Getty Images)

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(11/08/2009) - The NHK Trophy concluded Sunday in Nagano, Japan, with the free dance. The NHK Trophy was the fourth of six events in the 2009/2010 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. The skaters compete for a global prize money of US $ 180, 000 per individual event of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating and receive points according to their placements. The top six skaters/couples of the series will proceed to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Tokyo, Japan.

Free dance Meryl Davis and Charlie White (USA) danced to victory. Sinead Kerr and John Kerr of Great Britain took the silver medal while Canadians Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier earned the bronze.

Davis and White put out a captivating performance of their powerful Phantom of the Opera program. The routine was highlighted by a straight line-rotational lift many changes of position for Davis, a straight line lift with him skating backwards on one foot while she balanced on his leg, fast twizzles and intricate footwork.

The crowd awarded the couple a standing ovation. Davis and White picked up a Level 4 for their lifts and the combination spin and a Level 3 for the circular and diagonal footwork as well as for the twizzles to earn 100.79 points (49.50 element score/program component score). Overall they racked up 201.97 points and took their second Grand Prix gold medal this season.

"Sometimes it is a little bit tough being the last event the day after everyone else is finished competing. I think we all were able to make the most of it. It was a really good event for all of us. For Meryl and myself, we skated really well, technically speaking we were able to emote," White said.

"At this point, we are getting pretty comfortable with it [the program]. The Olympics are still ways away, but I think that we should be able to have a really great program by then," White added.

Kerr and Kerr danced to "Krwling" by Linkin Park, telling the story of a man in distress that finds guidance by a spirit. The 2009 European bronze medalists produced innovative lifts such as a lift with her doing a handstand on his knee and a straight line lift in a low position. As usual, their inverse lift where Sinead Kerr lifts her brother, was a crowd favorite. However, Sinead Kerr was a little off-balance in the twizzles that were graded a Level 1. The diagonal step sequence received a Level 2 as well, while the lifts and the spin were a Level 3.

Kerr and Kerr scored 86.16 points (43.00/43.16) which added up to 177.73 points overall. The Scots claimed their first silver medal on the Grand Prix circuit and the second medal this season. They had won two bronze medals last year.

"We were pleased with our technical score; it improved since our last Grand Prix. I did a few silly mistakes. Hopefully that can be improved on for the next one," Sinead Kerr noted.

"It would be great [to qualify for the Grand Prix Final for the first time]. I think it kind of does depend on the way some other results go, but obviously if we could make it to the Grand Prix Final, it would be an amazing achievement for us. We always want to do everything that's in figure skating and Grand Prix Final is something that we've never done before," John Kerr added.

Crone and Poirier chose the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as the theme of their free dance. The 2008 World Junior silver medalists completed interesting lifts including a stationary lift with him spinning on one foot in a deep position, level-four twizzles and a serpentine step sequence that received a Level 3. The Canadians posted a new seasons best with 84.51 points (43.20/41.31) and claimed bronze at 165.89 points. It was the second Grand Prix medal for this young team. They were silver medalists at Skate Canada in 2008.

"This was a much stronger performance of our free dance from the last Grand Prix. There are still a few things that we need to fix, and the level of performance can always improve so that's what we'll look to work on towards our next competition," Poirier told the press.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev (RUS) finished fourth with a powerful performance of "Adagio" (160.01 points). Xintong Huang and Xun Zheng (CHN) skated to "Adagio" as well and moved up from sixth to fifth place at 154.90 points.

Davis and White took 15 points and are qualified for the Grand Prix Final with the maximum of 30 points from their two wins. Kerr and Kerr (13 points) now have 24 points from their two events and have to wait and see if they will qualify for the Final for the first time in their career. Crone and Poirier (11 points) collected 20 points in their two events.