Home favorites lead ice dancing, Chinese pair far behind

14:08, February 22, 2010      

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Twice world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir entertained home fans at the packed Pacific Coliseum here on Sunday, hitting a season best score of original dance to lead the ice dancing rankings at the ongoing Olympic Winter Games.

The hosts' favorites, who claimed the bronze medal in last year's worlds, danced to Spanish Flamenco, as the original dance competitions were themed folk and country dances, and collected 68.41 points to overtake the lead from Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin on 111.15 points overall.

Judge panel awarded Virtue and Moir a highest level four for their lift and twizzles, while their two step sequences earned a level three.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States, who were on the third place after Friday's compulsory dance, moved up to the second on 108.55 after they danced to the Bollywood-themed Indian Dance to earn 67.08.

Three out of the four elements were granted a level four, including the lift, twizzles and the circular step sequence.

Domnina and Shabalin, the reigning world champions, scored 62.84 points with the Aboriginal Dance but slipped from first to third with 106.60 overall.

The silver medalists of both the 2006 Turin Games and the 2009 world championships, Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the U.S. skated last in a "Moldavian Dance" and kept in the fourth place on 103.33 points.

China's sole pair Huang Xintong and Zheng Xun were still on the 19th place out of 23 couples in the ice dancing competitions. They chose a Greek flavored dance rather than a Chinese folk.

"It might be easier for the umpires to better understand a story told with Greek music," said Huang at the mixed zone.

"We really liked the music. It sets a lovely tone and puts the audience in a good mood, which puts us in a good mood. We thought that Chinese music may not be well understood by the judges," Zheng added.

"We were able to show our best in the competition today. We completed all our elements as well as possible," Huang said.

Former American Cathy Reed and Chris Reed, representing Japan at the Olympics, took 50.81 points in Sunday's original dance and moved from the 18th to 16th with an overall score of 80.30.

Source: Xinhua
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