Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir win ice dance


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- For the first time in almost two years, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are back on top.

The Olympic champions won the ice dance title at the Four Continents Championships on Sunday, beating rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White for the first time since the 2010 worlds.

The Canadians overcame a .55-point deficit to Davis and White with a score of 111.24 in the free dance for a total of 182.84. The reigning world champions, Davis and White had not lost a competition since that defeat to Virtue and Moir in 2010. The Americans scored 107.25 in the free dance to earn the silver medal with 179.40.

"I think it was a great performance," Moir said. "We felt really strong today. It was kind of a test for us up here with the altitude, and we were definitely feeling it today."

Davis and White, who won last year's Four Continents title, were the last pair to skate and needed 110.70 to win.

"Today, I think some of the calls didn't go our way," White said. "Not everything is going to go your way. I could not be prouder of the way we fought through both programs. We really worked through it.

"We wanted to work on expression, and we did that. I felt like our elements were pretty good."

Davis said she and White would be ready for the world championships March 26-April 1 in Nice, France.

"Our score really isn't what we were looking for," Davis said. "Silver isn't the color we were aiming for this year, but that's OK. We have a lot to go home and work on, and we are looking forward to it.

"We'll take a look at our technical score and see where we went wrong, but I think we're on the right track for Nice."

Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were third at 163.26.

As the first team on the ice for the free skate in the pairs competition earlier Sunday, China's Sui Wenjing and Han Cong had a chance to send a message to the other medal contenders.

They did just that.

The two-time junior world champions were stellar in the free skate, earning a season-best 135.08 points for a 201.83 total that would not be eclipsed.

"We feel very excited," Han said. "Maybe tonight we can't sleep. I think later in the program there were a little nerves, but we feel we adjusted to our program. The throws were successful, and we are very pleased.

"This is our first time to win a senior competition, and we are happy and excited."

Americans Caydee Denney and John Coughlin -- fresh off a title at the 2012 U.S. championships -- had a season-best score of their own with 122.07 points, but settled for second at 185.42.

"I felt like we took a step in the right direction toward building for the world championships, and we're happy with how it all turned out," Coughlin said.

Denney and Coughlin, who have been a team only since May, will represent the United States from March 26-April 1 in Nice, France.

"Every time you go out there, you learn something," Denney said. "Especially John and I being such a new pair together, we did learn a lot from this competition. We're just going to keep pushing to grow and strengthen as a team so that we can put up a bigger score at worlds."

The American tandem of Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker took bronze with 178.89 points after a season-best 116.47 in the free skate.

It marked the first time since the 2000 Four Continents event that the United States had two pairs teams on the medal stand.