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2010 World Championships Preview: Ice Dancing

The 2010 world figure skating championships begin in Torino, Italy, tomorrow with the ice dancing compulsories.  The top two medal pairs from Vancouver are here, but bronze medalists Domnina and Shabalin and fourth-place finishers Belbin and Agosto are out.  I expect Virtue and Moir and Davis and White to medal, barring errors, but it will be interesting to see who pops in for the third medal.

The Contenders:

Meryl Davis and Charlie White (USA):  These two had the upper hand all season, until the Olympics, where they finished second to Canada's Virtue and Moir.  I thought Davis and White were good enough to win in Vancouver but I actually have seen them skate their programs better at other times this season.  They have three great programs, and their original and free dances are ones to be remembered.  I am sure the momentum has swung in the favor of the Olympic gold medalists, but I'm hoping these are gunning for the win.  If they're clean, I expect them on the podium, of course.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir:  Davis and White's training mates, and the reigning Olympic gold medalists.  I'm not sure they'll be able to capture the magic they had in Vancouver, and there won't be the spark that came from skating in front of the home crowd.  However, they are the gold medalists, so I'm they'll be skating with confidence here.  Additionally, rumor has it they *may* retire after this.  That would be tragic, considering how young they are and how much it will deprive the rest of us from seeing them do in the future, but I'm sure they want to go out on top.

The Dark Horses

Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali (Italy):  This pair deserved to finish ahead of Domnina and Shabalin at the Olympics, in my opinion, so I am inclined to think they'll be the podium choice if they skate clean.  I don't think they hold a candle to Davis and White or Virtue and Moir, but they've never medalled at worlds in the numerous years they've been there.  If there is a year they'll do it, it's this year.  They are known as dramatic storytellers and live up to that this season.

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat (France):  This is another team without a world medal.  They have definitely paid their dues and one thing they have going for them is they have gotten better and better this season.  Still, their Requiem for a Dream free skate is not amazing. 

Sinead Kerr and John Kerr (Great Britain):  These two are real crowd pleasers, although again they are not on the level as the top two teams and they are prone to errors lately.  Still, I don't think many spectators will be sad to see them medal if they can pull it off.

Some other dark horses to look out for include Khokhlova and Novitski of Russia and Zaretsky and Zaretsky of Israel.