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Innovative free lifts Davis, White to effortless win

Ilinykh, Katsalapov claim silver; Shibutanis settle for bronze

Meryl Davis and Charlie White's margin of victory was 21.86 points.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White's margin of victory was 21.86 points. (Getty Images)

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By International Skating Union
(11/24/2012) - Meryl Davis and Charlie White danced off with the gold medal at the 2012 NHK Trophy. Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia claimed the silver, and Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. settled for the bronze.

Davis and White turned in a strong performance to Notre-Dame de Paris, completing intricate footwork and innovative lifts. The 2011 world champions picked up a Level 4 for their spin, lifts and twizzles, while their step sequences merited a Level 2 and 3.

The Olympic silver medalists scored a season-best 108.62 points in the free dance and 178.48 overall.

"Charlie and I were very pleased with our performance today. It was our second competition of the year, and we felt it was like a huge step up from the first competition," Davis said.

Ilinykh and Katsalapov's routine to music from The Ghost featured Level 4 twizzles and lifts and a Level 4 spin, while the footwork earned a Level 2 and 3.

The reigning European bronze medalists achieved a new season's best as well with 95.66 points and moved up one spot to second, finishing with 156.62 points.

"Today was a tough day. Lena suffered from a kind of (food) poisoning. I found out about it just shortly before we skated," Katsalapov revealed. "It was a shock for the whole team, and everybody tried to help her, and me, too."

The Shibutanis danced to the soundtrack of Memoirs of a Geisha and produced five Level 4 elements. The brother-and-sister team earned 93.72 points, another season's best, and totaled 154.56 points.

"We feel like we've made so much improvement since Russia," Maia said. "We know what we have to do when we get back home, but for today, skating in front of such an amazing audience was such an honor for us. We really enjoyed ourselves."

The gold and silver medalists at this event both advanced to the Grand Prix Final.

Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams of Canada placed fourth with 130.10 points, and the host country's Cathy Reed and Chris Reed ranked fifth at 124.46 points.