Davis, White strengthen hold on No. 1 ranking
Americans still tops among world's ice dancers
|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)|
The big mover of the week in ladies was Russia's Alena Leonova, whose silver medal at the NHK Trophy caused her to rise five spots to No. 6. NHK gold medalist Miki Ando of Japan inched up one place to No. 4, and bronze medalist Ashley Wagner of the United States ascended to No. 12, three spots higher than where she was the previous week. After a sixth-place finish in Nagano, Canada's Cynthia Phaneuf climbed back into the rankings at No. 19, while Switzerland's Sarah Meier fell out of the rankings after withdrawing from the NHK Trophy because of inflammation in her right Achilles tendon.
A new No. 1 emerged this week as Frenchman Brian Joubert reclaimed the top spot, a position he held for much of last season. Joubert won gold at the NHK Trophy, signaling a marked improvement over his fourth-place finish at Trophée Eric Bompard earlier this season. Czech Republic's Michal Brezina won the bronze at the NHK Trophy in his Grand Prix Series debut, pushing him up three spots to No. 14. Despite winning the silver medal last week, Johnny Weir of the United States remained at No. 8. Other significant changes were Japan's Daisuke Takahashi five-notch vault to No. 10 and American Adam Rippon three-spot move to No. 9 after placing fourth and sixth, respectively, in Nagano.
The top of the pairs rankings tightened up as China's Qing Pang and Jian Tong earned their second medal in this year's Grand Prix Series last week, shrinking top-ranked German team Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy's lead over them to fewer than 200 points. NHK silver medalists Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia held at No. 4, while bronze medalists Rena Inoue and John Baldwin of the United States moved up two spots to No. 10. The fifth-place finish of Canadian pair Mylène Brodeur and John Mattatall bumped them up two places to No. 13, and Russians Ksenia Krasilnikova and Konstantin Bezmaternikh entered the rankings at No. 16 after placing sixth at NHK.
Davis and White claimed their third career Grand Prix gold medal last week, besting the field in Nagano by more than 24 points, and now lead second-ranked Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia by more than 800 points. Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier of Canada earned their second career Grand Prix medal, a bronze, last week and rose three places to No. 11. After earning bronze in their last three Grand Prix events, Sinead Kerr and John Kerr of Great Britain took the silver at the NHK Trophy but remained at No. 9. Climbing into the rankings at No. 19 is the Chinese team of Xintong Huang and Xun Zheng, who placed a respectable fifth in Nagano.