Posted: Sat March 16, 2013 7:54PM; Updated: Sat March 16, 2013 7:53PM

Americans victorious in ice dance at World Championships

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir came in second on their home ice at the World Championships.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

LONDON, Ontario (AP) Two years after giving the United States its first world title in ice dance, Meryl Davis and Charlie White did it again.

In Canada, of all places.

The five-time U.S. champions upstaged reigning Olympic and world champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the World Figure Skating Championships on Saturday afternoon.

It was a stunning victory, both in margin and that in came in the Canadians' hometown, where they are, as the public address announcer said, "local skating icons."

But it wasn't even close. With 189.56 points, Davis and White beat Virtue and Moir by about 4 1/2 points. That score also topped the world record they'd set at last season's Grand Prix Final by a point.

European champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia won the bronze medal.

Madison Chock and Evan Bates were seventh in their worlds debut while Maia and Alex Shibutani were eighth. The United States will be able to send three dance teams to Sochi, the third straight Olympics the Americans have qualified the maximum spots.

The women's free skate is later Saturday.

Davis-White and Virtue-Moir have been trading titles since the Vancouver Olympics, and their rivalry is the best thing going in figure skating these days. Either couple would dominate the sport if the other wasn't around, but the fact they are has made both better.

The victory caps a perfect season for Davis and White, and makes them the early favorites for gold at next year's Sochi Olympics. That would have been unthinkable only a decade ago, but Davis and White have earned every bit of their status.

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Unlike many couples, who trick up their programs with stunts and funky music and costumes, Davis and White let their dancing speak for them. Every second of their program was simply magnificent, so breathtaking you didn't dare blink for fear of missing something.

Pairs skaters ought to take note of their first spin, which was far better than anything done in the pairs competition. It's a wonder Davis was able to stand up after their first lift. White flipped her up and around his back like a baton until she was in his arms, whirling feverishly the entire time.

And anyone who wants to learn how to skate should simply watch their programs. Their edge quality is better than that of any master craftsman, and there wasn't a spot on the rink that they didn't visit at least once during their program.

Most impressive? While most couples can only skate in one direction, Davis and White turn, travel and venture off in all kinds of different directions and patterns. Think walking and texting at the same time, and you get the idea.

When they finished, White knelt on the ice for several minutes, spent. But he had recovered by the time their marks were posted, jumping up to wave to the cheering fans.

Virtue and Moir grew up just outside of London, and the entire city seems to be on a first-name basis with them.

The arena was filled with hundreds of their family and friends - easily identifiable by their canary-yellow T-shirts - and Canada's governor-general was on hand to watch them.

No pressure there or anything.

Errors in their short dance left them trailing by 3.25 points, a sizeable gap by ice dance standards. But they weren't going to give up their title without a fight, especially not in front of all their fans.

Their "Carmen" was steamy and colorful, so much so you could practically see the blood pouring from her by the end of the program. They were always in time with the music and, as it grew, so did their movements.

The last 40 seconds of their program was downright frenetic, highlighted by their final lift sequence. Gymnasts would have been impressed with the backflip she did into his arms before he boosted her onto his shoulders and then spun her around.

Without even a second to catch their breaths, they immediately went into another lift, where she appeared to die in his arms.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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