by Ralph Routon
Canada had reason to celebrate Monday night, after its ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated a superb free dance to take the Olympic gold medal by a convincing margin before a thrilled crowd of 14,000 in Pacific Coliseum.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the American champions who were second after the original dance, came away with the silver.
The other American contenders and 2006 silver medalists, Canada-born Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, wound up fourth this time. The bronze went to Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia.
It was the first gold medal ever won by a North American nation in ice dance.
The medal for Davis and White, combined with the U.S. women's hockey team guaranteeing itself of at least a silver by winning in the semifinals, gives the United States at least 26 medals, ahead of the 25 won by American athletes in 2006 at Torino, Italy.
That means the U.S. is certain of winning more medals than ever before at a Winter Games in another country. Americans took 34 medals at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.