BOSTON — World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White are well on their way to a record sixth straight ice dance national title.
Davis and White broke their own record with 80.69 points Friday in the short dance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, more than seven points ahead of Madison Chock and Evan Bates, last year's runners-up.
Skating to selections from “My Fair Lady,” Davis and White got a standing ovation when it was over.
“This is the first time we felt comfortable enough to let things happen naturally,” Davis said. “This is the fifth time we're competing the program. With this program, it's all about being comfortable enough to let things happen naturally, and when you reach a point where it can be just fun, that's what we really enjoy about skating.”
On the final lift, they spun across the ice in a dizzying blur with the tails of White's tuxedo flying behind, and she could look up to the crowd with eyes glowing.
Coach Marina Zoueva had wanted them to skate to this music for several years.
“As we have grown with the program, we feel in love with the program and what it means ... that exuberant joy,” Davis said.
Chock and Bates posted a career-high 73.41, well above their 70.80 a year ago but still far behind Davis and White. Siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani were third with 68.00 in a repeat of the final standings in 2013. The top three teams make the Olympics. The free dance is Saturday.
When the final notes of “There's No Business Like Show Business” ended, Bates barked out, “Let's go.”
Their coach told them before they took the ice, “Skate to win.”
“That's good advice,” Bates said.
A U.S. silver medal is a major victory with the way Davis and White have recently dominated the sport.