By Steve Keating
LONDON, Ontario (Reuters) - Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White capped a perfect season by reclaiming the ice dance title from Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir at the figure skating world championships on Saturday.
While the title will change hands, it will not go far with the good friends and training partners sharing a coach and practise rink in Detroit.
It marked the fourth consecutive year the two couples have swapped gold and silver medals, Virtue and Moir winning the title in 2010 and 2012 and White and Davis taking home the big prize in 2011 and again on Saturday.
The win added to a friendly rivalry that will now continue on to the Sochi Winter Games where the Americans will try to relieve the Canadians of their Olympic crown.
"These are performances to build off of; we are going to take and go home and work for next year," Moir told reporters. "We are obviously looking forward to a big season and coming out on top.
"This rivalry between the two of us seems to have heated up a little bit now and should be fun going into the Olympics."
Davis and White and Virtue and Moir have utterly dominated the ice dance scene the last four years providing a massive roadblock for anyone trying to scratch their way to the top of the podium.
While the Americans had to settle for silver behind the Canadians at the 2010 Winter Games and again at last year's world championships, Davis and White have had the better of their good friends this season finishing in first place at the Grand Prix finals, Four Continents and now the worlds.
"We try to celebrate these moments because we know there are not an infinite amount of them," said White. "You've got to do your job but you want to have a special moment and I think we achieved that today.
"We accomplished all our goals coming into this competition."
The worlds represented a home-coming of sorts for Virtue and Moir, who grew up just minutes from the London arena that is hosting the championships. But they could not keep the American invaders from spoiling the party.
After an uneven short program that left them in second place, Virtue and Moir stepped onto the ice needing to produce something magical from their innovative and provocative free dance.
Their racy "Carmen" easily won over the home crowd and a season best mark from the judges but their overall score of 185.04 was not enough to return them to the top of the podium.
Davis and White, who have not turned a blade wrong the entire season, delivered another virtuoso performance, earning a world record mark of 189.56 for their work that was loudly appreciated by the capacity audience.
European champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia took the bronze.
"It's clear we weren't the hometown favorites coming in but we received so much encouragement, As Charlie pointed out, it's tough to root for the away team," Davis said.
(Editing by Gene Cherry)