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Longtime Pair Take Home First American Ice Dancing Gold


Well, the real crowd-pleasers today are the next two American athletes we're going to talk about, and they are gold winners. Meryl Davis and Charlie White made history as the first U.S. ice dancing team ever to win gold. NPR's Tamara Keith was there and joins us now. And, Tamara, this has become one of the big American stories of these games. Tell us about Davis and White, and how they danced their way to the medal stand.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: They killed it out there. These dancers have been dancing together as a team since they were 10 years old, for 17 years. Not only do they have the precision footwork, but they also have sort of mastered that melding that is so important in ice dancing where they - even though they're not a real-life couple, they make you believe that they are there together, and they are the only two people on Earth dancing out there on that ice.

CORNISH: And, of course, there is a rivalry. This time, it's with the Canadians, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. They won gold four years ago at the Olympics in Vancouver. What happened there?

KEITH: So they won silver this time, which is a reversal from the previous Olympics where Davis and White won silver. The crazy thing about this rivalry is that they actually trained together with the same coach outside of Detroit, Michigan. And between these two teams, they have completely dominated international ice dancing competition for years. But in the last year or so, Davis and White have taken over. They've really figured out what it is that the judges want, and that's a bit of a mystery and a bit of a controversy within the sport. It's just not entirely clear what the judges want or how these things are decided.

CORNISH: And, Tamara, before I let you go, got to get a little fashion report. Best outfits and worst outfits?

KEITH: Oh. Oh, oh. So I think that the best outfits were the team that won bronze from Russia. They had these black outfits. Hers was like a tutu-type of thing and he had this sort of tentacles of sequins coming across his chest. I don't know what the team was that had these outfits, but there was something where the guy sort of looked like either a hobo or a clown and I'm not sure which it was.

CORNISH: All right. That's NPR's Tamara Keith in Sochi where she watched Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White take the gold in ice dancing. Tamara, thank you.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.