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The American champion, who is just 17, was first after the short programme and came second in the free skate for a total of 307.46 points.

This Olympics, I’ve been struck by how Balkanized the Winter Games seem.

Ice dancing draws attention to the sport’s tacky and flimsy costumes, its obsession with appearances (which also mean its unacknowledged eating disorders), its often cheesy choreography and unimaginative music.

( On Monday night, though, ice dancing was in the spotlight stateside, because Meryl Davis and Charlie White of Michigan became the first Americans to win gold in the discipline.

They tend to downplay their rivalry—but as Weir said today, it’s not as if these four showed up in Sochi feeling idly curious about who would take first. Add to that wacky situation a pair of talented, charismatic Russians, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, and you had a recipe for emotional drama.

Watching online, I could hear Weir and women’s singles skater Tara Lipinski (who are both fabulous as commentators) getting more and more into it, crowing, “that program was pure perfection” after Davis and White, the final competitors, brought things to a close with a theatrical flourish.


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