SOCHI, Russia - The judges were impressed by Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Most of the crowd at Iceberg Skating Palace was not so impressed. Or at least the largely Russian audience didn't express much admiration.
Davis and White claimed gold in Monday's ice dance, overcoming a less-than-friendly audience. After Russian skaters competed, the ice was covered with flowers while women and men stood and chanted. After Davis and White completed their world-record performance (116.63) in the free dance , there was tepid applause.
But for fans of the Davis and White show back home in the United States, there was jubilation. The pair was virtually perfect, scoring a world-record (78.89) in Sunday's short program.
The duo needed to be sharp. In 2010, Davis and White finished second behind Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. On Monday, the Americans reversed the order.
But it wasn't easy. Virtue and Moir scored 114.66 to place heavy pressure on Davis and White. Davis and White responded with a superlative performance. They embraced, obviously thrilled, even if the Russian crowd did not join them in their joy.
Davis said Virtue and Moir were a crucial inspiration.
"We have been pushing each other and learning from each other not just for the last four years but since 2006," Davis said. 'We learned so much from Tessa and Scott."
White declined to end speculation about the future of his partnership with Davis. Virtue and Moir have said this was their farewell performance as a skating couple.
The same might be true for White and Davis, who have been competing together since 1997.
"As far as moving forward, I don't know," White said. "I don't even know where I'm sitting right now."
Where was he sitting?
On top of the skating world.
Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the United States finished eighth, and Maia and Alex Shibutani, also of the U.S., finishing in ninth.
The Shibutani's score was lowered a point by a mistake in their extended lift.
"We had a little bit of trouble," Maia said. "More than a little trouble. ..
My costume and tights got caught on him. We salvaged it and didn't fall. We pushed through."