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Home ice no advantage to Virtue and Moir

LONDON, Ontario -- It was Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's home turf but Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White who owned the ice on Thursday, taking the lead in the figure skating world championship ice dance with a dazzling short program.

The short dance represented a home-coming of sorts for Virtue and Moir, who grew up just minutes from the London arena hosting the championships.

But the Olympic and world champions could not keep the American invaders from spoiling the party as Davis and White seized control of the competition with a career best mark of 77.12.

Despite some uncharacteristic bobbles, Virtue and Moir remain in contention to defend their crown with a score of 73.87 but will have to produce something special in Saturday's free dance if they are to continue their world championship reign.

“We are further behind then we would like to be,” admitted Virtue. “I don't think it changes our job on Saturday and we are going to attack the program, we have nothing to lose and we're confident in “Carmen”.

Russia's Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev sat third but it was clear the fight for gold will again come down to a battle between Virtue and Moir and Davis and White.

The two couples have dominated the ice dance scene taking the top two spots at the last three world championships and Vancouver Olympics.

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 training partners this season, finishing in first place at the Grand Prix finals and Four Continents.

“All the best hockey teams prepare for an away game and play like it's at home,” said White. “It definitely was a very special performance for us.

“You put so much effort in throughout the year that when you are able to perform like that the worlds it means a lot.”

Home ice had proven a huge advantage for Canadians competing in events before the ice dance with five skaters posting personal bests.

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 England 465, New Zealand 66-3 
Meryl Davis and Charlie White, of the United States, perform in the ice dance short program at the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario, Thursday, March 14. (AP)

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