United States ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White skate their short program. (Geoff Robins/Getty Images)
London, Ontario — Ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White sure know how to spoil a homecoming.
Undaunted at skating minutes away from where longtime rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir grew up, the Americans won the short dance with perhaps their best performance this season Thursday.
Their score of 77.12 — the highest anyone's gotten this season — would have been tough to beat, anyway, but the Canadians didn't help themselves by getting noticeably out of unison midway through. Davis and White (Ann Arbor) lead the Olympic and world champions, who train with then at Canton's Arctic Edge, by 3.25 points, a significant gap going into Saturday's free dance.
"It's a really good sign when, from beginning to end, you're having a good time," White said. "It was one of those dream skates."
And a nightmare for the Canadians, whose family and friends were all over the arena in their bright yellow T-shirts.
"We find ourselves in a bit of a hole," Moir said. "But the competition isn't over yet."
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev are third.
Earlier Thursday, Olympic champion Kim Yu-na made a triumphant return, winning the short program in her first appearance at a major competition since the 2011 worlds.
With a score of 69.97, she's more than three points ahead of defending world champion Carolina Kostner (66.86) and Kanako Murakami of Japan (66.64) heading into Saturday's free skate. U.S. champion Ashley Wagner is fifth.