Photo: David J. Phillip Associated Press
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir celebrate their third gold medal at the games in Pyeongchang in February 2018.
The pressure at the Arena Gangneung was palpable. With the world watching. In what turned out to be four minutes of the most memorable olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have offered the performance of a lifetime.
A scoring record has allowed them to win a third gold medal, making of the canadian dancers the skaters the most decorated olympic Games. Virtue and Moir have executed the perfect plan in gold as they had previously announced — with a mixed reception when they have returned to competition, eighteen months earlier.
“When we announced our return to the competition, nobody was glad : the competitors, skaters, our families, our friends, even our federation. Everyone was surprised, because it was a big risk, ” says Virtue. Maybe it is because we believed in us and what we could do. We felt that we had yet much to accomplish. “
Friday, Virtue and Moir have been rewarded for this historic return by winning the team award for the year 2018 of The canadian Press. The dancers have won 39 of the 54 votes (72.2 percent) in the poll conducted among commentators and officials of the sports sections of the media across the country.
“Virtue and Moir… they are now like Torvill and Dean, said Wayne Chamberlain, head of the sports sections at Postmedia. They have captivated the world with their swan song and touched many Canadians. “
The canadian junior hockey team which won gold at the World 2018, Buffalo finished in second place, with five votes (9.3 percent). The Red and Gold of Laval University, who went undefeated before going on to win the Vanier Cup, finished third, with four votes (7.4 percent).
“This is amazing. I looked at past winners to have a bit of a step backwards compared to this honor, and I was trying to understand how, ten months later, people can remember us, ” says Virtue.
A successful return
Partners for more than twenty years, Virtue, London, ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, are the darlings of fans since their gold medal won at the Vancouver Games in 2010.
They have spent two years without slipping in the wake of their conquest of the silver medal at the games in Sochi in 2014, and are back in the competition with only one thing in mind : gold in South Korea.
Virtue and Moir held only a slim lead over the French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron after the short program, even if Papadakis has skated most of her program with a clip of her dress detached.
The next evening, while the French have established a global brand in the free program, Virtue and Moir were waiting in the wings, fingers in the ears. They are insured not to look at a monitor.
Virtue and Moir have then raised the crowd with a breathtaking performance on the music of Moulin Rouge, a movie they loved from the moment they saw it, while they were still children.
“We had full confidence in our preparation. We had never been in as good a mental disposition. We were focused like that can’t be, recalled Virtue. But it does not prevent the nervousness and the weight of the pressure.
“Several times during the day, particularly in the 30 minutes before going on stage, Scott looked at me and said to me : “You know, this is exactly what we wanted. This is what we wanted when we decided to make a return to competition.” […] We wanted more. It was at once terrifying, upsetting, daunting but terribly exciting.
“Jump on the ice on the largest stage there is, with all this pressure, this is probably the kind of sensations that we pursue all our life. “
The duo was among the most popular athletes of the olympics. The lovers have fallen under the spell of their atoms in common, and this “love story” canadian.
“Virtue and Moir have kept the best for the end and have captured the hearts of Canadians with a perfect final in a sport where, by reason of the judges, perfection is sometimes not sufficient,” stressed Dave Peters, director for sports and photography to The Montreal Gazette.
Virtue still has not looked at their last dance at the olympic games in Pyeongchang, as it is too much of a perfectionist. But millions of people have done it. One of their performances olympics on YouTube has been viewed over three million times.
Virtue and Moir are the second duo of figure skating to win the honor, which was presented for the first time to the Montreal canadiens in 1966. Jamie Salé and David Pelletier have won in 2001.