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Davis, White poised to dominate on home ice

Meryl Davis and Charlie White pose for a portrait during the USOC Media Summit on October 1, 2013 in Park City, Utah
Meryl Davis and Charlie White pose for a portrait during the USOC Media Summit on October 1, 2013 in Park City, Utah

Meryl Davis and Charlie White, whose second world title in March established them as favorites to become the first US ice dance duo to win Olympic gold, get their Olympic season underway at Skate America, which starts Friday in Detroit.

Davis and White won silver at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and hope to go one better in Sochi, Russia, next year.

But Davis says the duo will focus, as always, on improving over the course of the season, rather than on a possible historic Games gold.

"I think we just know that allowing ourselves to just linger on the idea of a potential medal, focusing on a gold medal, it’s not healthy for us at this point," Davis told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month.

"We’re focused on what it is we can do to improve our training, improve what it is we’re putting onto the ice, that I feel we kind of have that comfort zone of focusing on the training without getting too far ahead of ourselves."

Davis and White head the ice dance field for Skate America, the first in the elite six-leg International Skating Union Grand Prix series.

Vancouver Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will make their season debut in the series at Skate Canada, later in October.

While Davis and White will be favorites in Detroit, where they train, skaters from the host nation will be the underdogs in other events.

Max Aaron and Ashley Wagner will likely be in medal contention in the men's and women's individual events, in which reigning ISU Grand Prix champions Daisuke Takahashi and Mao Asada of Japan are set to launch their title defences.

Aaron, 21, is looking forward to testing himself against the world's best.

"I want to lay out these programs and compete with the best in the world," Aaron said on a conference call last week. "There’s no holding back for me."

The men's event has suffered from two high profile withdrawals. Olympic gold medallist Evan Lysacek pulled out earlier this month with a hip injury, and on Wednesday, world championships silver medallist Denis Ten withdrew.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir lead the US challenge in pairs, in a field headlined by reigning world champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov.

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