Figure skaters feel love at first sight for Sochi

Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:11am EST
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By Gennady Fyodorov

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - After getting their first taste of the Olympic figure skating arena in Sochi, American ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White cannot wait to return for the main event in 2014.

The 2011 world champions said they have only positive memories from their trip to the Russian Black Sea resort, situated at the foot of the majestic Caucasus mountains, after winning the Grand Prix Final at the 12,000-seat Iceberg Palace.

"Looking out of my room I have the mountains on the left and the ocean on my right," White told reporters during the test event for the 2014 Winter Games, which concluded here on Sunday.

"It just gives you a sense of grandeur and you want to take that feeling to the ice."

The arena, which will stage the figure skating and short track events in February 2014, was the first to be completed at Sochi's Olympic Park.

"It's a beautiful arena and the atmosphere here is just fantastic," said Davis. "We've been several times in Moscow but this is our first visit to Sochi. Everything feels great."

The Americans beat Olympic champions and long-time training partners Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada in the short and the free dance to establish themselves as early favorites for the gold when the elite skaters take to the ice again at the same arena in less than 14 months from now.

The Canadians were also impressed with the facilities.   Continued...

A general view of the Bolshoy Ice Dome (L) and Adler Arena Skating Centre in the Olympic Park to be used for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi December 9, 2012.REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski