AFP – World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White scored a career-best in the free skate event to win the ice dance title at the NHK Trophy in Tokyo Sunday, the season’s fourth Grand Prix.
Dancing to the music of “Scheherazade” by N. Rimski-Korsakov, the US couple hit a maximum level-four in a combination spin, a synchronised twizzler and two rotational lifts to earn 112.95 points, breaking their own personal record of 112.68 they scored at the Four Continents championships last February.
The short-programme leaders finished with a combined total of 186.65 points, beating Italy’s world bronze medallists Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte into second spot at 160.06.
American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani placed third overall at 157.58.
It was the 15th Grand Prix title for Davis and White who have been competing together for 16 years, finishing runners-up to Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
They also won the season-opening Skate America title and, with their two Grand Prix wins this season, qualified for the December 5-8 Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan, which brings together the top six finishers in each category.
The world’s top skaters are assigned to compete in two of the season’s six Grand Prix events.
“It’s not boring at all,” laughed White, 26, about the new trophy added to their cupboard. The duo has also lifted the 2011 and 2013 world titles and three Four-Continents gold medals.
“With our free dance, we are really able to make the most out of it because of how far we’ve come over our whole career,” he said.
“I think our ability to connect with the music and our ability to connect with each other and with the audience are so important,” he added.