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Sochi 2014: U.S. duo Davis and White skate to historic gold

By Piers Edwards, CNN
updated 4:55 PM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
Sidney Crosby celebrates after scoring Canada's second goal during the men's ice hockey gold medal match against Sweden on Sunday, February 23. Most of us know the Winter Olympics through the power of television, as a spectacle in constant motion. Seeing the Games through still photography is a different experience altogether. Here's a look at the most compelling images from the word's best photographers at Sochi 2014. | <i>More photos:</i> <i><a href='http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/08/worldsport/gallery/falling-down-in-sochi/index.html'>Falling down in Sochi </a></i> Sidney Crosby celebrates after scoring Canada's second goal during the men's ice hockey gold medal match against Sweden on Sunday, February 23. Most of us know the Winter Olympics through the power of television, as a spectacle in constant motion. Seeing the Games through still photography is a different experience altogether. Here's a look at the most compelling images from the word's best photographers at Sochi 2014. | More photos: Falling down in Sochi
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Davis and White set a world record as they claim a first U.S. gold in ice dance
  • Russia win bobsleigh gold, as Belarus celebrates double gold
  • Germany's ski jumpers fly to success in the team event
  • Canada and U.S. to meet in women's ice hockey final for 4th time in 5 years

(CNN) -- The United States finally claimed a gold medal in figure skating ice dance as Meryl Davis and Charlie White produced a stunning world record display in Sochi on the tenth day of action.

Having taken team bronze on day two of the Games, and a silver in Vancouver four years ago, Davis and White saved the best for last as they completed their Olympic medal set.

Day 10 medal leaders

(G-S-B)

7-3-2 Germany

5-7-6 Russia

5-5-7 Netherlands

5-4-9 United States

5-3-7 Norway

5-2-1 Switzerland

5-0-1 Belarus

The two-time world champions scored 116.63 points for their free skate, to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Scheherazade', which created an overall total of 195.52 when added to their record display in the short dance on Sunday.

Read: Davis and White's 'inseparable Moms'

"We're so excited we're kind of in shock a little. I'm not sure what we're feeling. We're kind of in disbelief," Davis, 27, told reporters afterwards.

"I've never skated and visualized the performance at the same time and tonight that's kind of how it felt. It felt great."

The U.S. had won 14 figure skating gold medals before, all of which came in either the men's or women's singles.

"17 years of hard work was justified," said White, 26, referring to the fact that he first started skating with Davis as a child.

"To come away with a gold medal is amazing."

"We were well prepared by our coach Marina (Zueva) in coming here and doing our job. I felt like we had done everything we could from the beginning of this competition -- in practice, team event, this event."

Rather unusually, the American duo have the same coach -- Russian-born Zueva -- as the Canadian couple who took silver: 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The quartet even train together in Detroit.

"That was our best performance of the year for that program," said Moir. "We don't know what our plans are for the future from an amateur standpoint. We know we're doing 'Stars on Ice' in the spring!"

To the delight of an enraptured home crowd, Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov -- who had already won gold in the team event at Sochi -- won bronze at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

MYTH BUSTERS

Yet the host nation was not to be denied in the bobsleigh as Alexander Zubkov and Sochi-born Alexey Voeveda took a historic gold, Russia's first at the Olympics.

Having regularly trained in Sochi, the pair set a track record of 56.08 in their third run -- and Zubkov was delighted to have also beaten a different kind of record.

For the pilot disproved local belief that whoever carries the flag in the opening ceremony does not win a medal.

"Now you see it's just superstition," said the Russian team's flag bearer from ten days ago.

Poland took silver in the race, while Steven Holcomb and Steven Langton became the first pair from the U.S. to win a medal in the two-man competition since 1952.

American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White celebrate winning the Olympic gold medal Monday, February 17, in Sochi, Russia. American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White celebrate winning the Olympic gold medal Monday, February 17, in Sochi, Russia.
Davis and White win the gold
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Davis and White win the gold Davis and White win the gold
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"When we do well in two-man, we typically do well in four-man," said Holcomb, who took gold in the four-man four years ago. "We build momentum."

The medals for the four-man bobsleigh will be decided on Sunday, ahead of the closing ceremony later that night.

Meanwhile, Jamaican duo Winston Watts and Marvin Dixon failed to make it into the top 20 of the two-man event and went out after the third run.

DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR BELARUS

In many ways, the day belonged to Belarus -- a country of less than 10 million inhabitants that is lying seventh on the medals table, albeit with the same number of golds (five) as second-placed Russia.

Three of these have gone to the woman who is now the most successful Olympian in Belarus' history, with Darya Domracheva having also won a bronze in Vancouver 2010.

Having triumphed in the 10 km pursuit and the 15 km individual, Domracheva blitzed the field in the women's 12.5 km mass start as well -- spending over half the race skiing alone after opening up a healthy lead by the second lap.

She finished 20 seconds ahead of Czech Republic's Gabriela Soukalova, with Tiril Eckhoff of Norway taking bronze.

"It's amazing to be here because I dreamed about it, to be an Olympic champion, from my childhood. But to get three - dreams do come true," said the 27-year-old Domracheva.

"Russian family, Belarussian family. All these nations, Russians, Belarussians, we are like brothers and sisters. For me, I feel this country is really native for me."

Soukalova, meanwhile, emulated the feats of her mother, who won a silver medal in cross country at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo.

"It is one of the best moments of my life," the 24-year-old told reporters. "It's a really big pleasure to win silver here. I hope my mum is happy that I am as successful as her."

There was a double celebration for Belarus as Anton Kushnir ensured that his nation took gold in both the men's and women's freestyle skiing, after compatriot Alla Tsuper's triumph on Friday.

Belarus has a proud record in aerials, having won a medal in the men's competition five times in a row while their total tally of three golds is superior to any other nation.

Their twin success in Sochi is only the second time that one nation has won both the men's and women's events, with the U.S. previously achieving the feat in 1998.

Kushnir's jump in the 'super final' was as supreme in its execution as it was in its ambition and he said he took extra incentive from having his family, including his two-year-old son, watch him in Sochi.

"I am so happy that they came here. It is so great that when I see them I can jump longer and with more power," he said. "Five gold medals is so great for us and all of our country. I am so happy."

David Morris took a shock silver as Australia won its first medal in the men's event, with Zongyang Jia winning bronze for China.

TABLE TOPPERS

The fifth and final gold medal of the day went to Germany's ski jumpers in the men's team event.

The Germans managed to end an incredible winning streak in the event, with Austria not only having won gold in the last two Olympics but also failing to lose a team large hill event since 2005.

They had to settle for silver, while Japan finished third.

Germany's success took them to seven golds, two more than their nearest rivals at the top of the medals table.

In other action on Monday, the U.S. and Canada beat Sweden and Switzerland respectively to set up their fourth meeting in the final in five Winter Olympics.

Originally earmarked for Monday morning, the men's 15 km mass start biathlon final and snowboard cross qualification were postponed to Tuesday because of thick fog.

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If snowboarders were an introduction to a younger, hipper, "slacker" generation of Olympians, the next wave has taken it to another level.
updated 6:52 AM EDT, Tue June 3, 2014
He didn't like carpets, he banned portraits and he walked in water rather than swim. Welcome to Joseph Stalin's dacha.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
ebanon's Jackie Chamoun skis during the Women's Giant slalom first run at the 2013 Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria on February 14, 2013.
Like most skiers in Sochi, Jacky Chamoun had hoped to cause a stir on the slopes rather than off them.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Wed February 12, 2014
A prop from the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
It has been dubbed Russia's Las Vegas. But has Sochi's massive renovation come at a cost to the region's stunning natural environment?
updated 12:33 PM EST, Sun February 23, 2014
Take a different look at Sochi 2014 as CNN showcases the most compelling images from the world's best photographers.
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