Virtue and Moir prepare for ice dance challenge in style
In helping Canada collect figure skating team gold at PyeongChang 2018 on Monday 12 February, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir enjoyed the perfect warm-up for their bid to reclaim the Olympic ice dance title they won at Vancouver 2010.
“We’ve never trained so well and never prepared so well for a competition,” said Virtue, repeating what has become something of a mantra of hers at PyeongChang 2018. “We are confident, we are ready and we are strong.”
While there were no world records or personal bests for the 28-year-old Virtue and her 30-year-old partner in the team event, they did put in two “very solid” performances at the Gangneung Ice Arena to begin their Olympic fortnight in the best possible way.
The pressure was off the Canadian duo when they took to the ice for their free dance on the final day of the three-day competition, with Canada already assured the gold ahead of the Olympic Athletes from Russia team and USA. Skating to music from the film Moulin Rouge, they were awarded 118.10 points, just short of their season high of 118.33, which is also their personal best. The Canadian pair scored 80.51 points for their short programme the previous day, more than two points shy of their career best of 82.68.
No letting up
“It’s always difficult when you skate for the first time at the Olympic Games,” said Virtue. “You run the risk of wanting to do too much. I think we did really well.”
She and her partner, who finished ice dance runners-up at Sochi 2014, will head to Seoul for a few days’ training before returning to the Olympic fray. Unlike their main rivals, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, Virtue and Moir had no hesitation in competing in the team event, as Moir explained: “We couldn’t think of a reason why we shouldn’t get on the Olympic ice as soon as possible. We’re delighted to have won today but it doesn’t mean that we’re any less focused on winning the ice dance title. We’re not going to relax.”
We’re not going to relax.Scott Moir Canada
The Canadians will make their next appearance at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Monday 19 February, when they lock horns in the ice dance short programme with Papadakis and Cizeron. While Virtue and Moir were pocketing the team gold, the French pair continued their training in Montreal. The 2015 and 2016 world champions and reigning four-time European champions, Papadakis and Cizeron will arrive in the Republic of Korea on Wednesday 14 February, in preparation for what will be their Olympic debut.