Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (CAN) staked their claim as ice dancing’s all-time greats after winning gold at PyeongChang 2018 to go with their gold at Vancouver 2010 and their silver at Sochi 2014. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA) won silver at Gangneung Ice Arena, while Alex and Maia Shibutani (USA) took bronze.
Beating their own world-record total ice dance score wasn’t enough for Papadakis and Cizeron to take gold. Virtue and Moir followed up and smashed the new record minutes afterwards with a total score of 206.07, with 122.40 in the free dance on 20 February.
The Canadian pair skated to El Tango de Roxanne and Come What May, both from the film Moulin Rouge, and the crowd erupted at the end of their dance. After an original programme full of seamless, effortless lifts, Moir swept aside the barrier to leave the rink with a comic, jubilant flourish.
Papadakis and Cizeron scored 123.35 in the free dance, for a combined score of 205.28. They skated to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, a popular ice dance choice, but delivered a truly original interpretation.
The Shibutani’s demonstrated excellent technique skating to Coldplay’s Paradise. The brother and sister showed off precision edges, pointed toes and excellent carriage, but in an exceptional competition, their combined score of 192.59, with 114.86 in the free dance, was only good enough for bronze.
A dream come true – more or less
Virtue said she never imagined her career would come to this. “Certainly not,” she said. “Although in grade one I did write in my journal that I wanted to be at the Olympics with Danny Moir, Scott’s brother, so I’m close. I am thrilled with this competition. That performance was really special and truly memorable. We are so grateful to our team for having prepared us for this. We are taking in every single moment.”
Moir said this was a different kind of victory from the pair’s gold in Vancouver. “Obviously, in 2010 we were in our own country. Those are moments we will never forget. But eight years later we’re completely different people. We’re completely different athletes.
“We still love what we do. It’s personal this time. It was for each other. We skated with each other in mind the whole way and we skated with our hearts. It’s extremely fulfilling.”
The pair did not say whether they had made the decision to retire. “If it is the end we are extremely pleased with that,” said Moir. “We’ll probably make an announcement in the coming days, but for us we just want to enjoy this right now and let the dust settle and figure out what’s next.”
Papadakis and Cizeron were philosophical on finishing second despite breaking the world record. “We did our best and we have nothing to regret,” said Papadakis. “I am very moved right now. I think I’d start to cry if you told me now that your grandmother’s dog had died. There are lots of emotions coming out right now.” Cizeron added: “We’ve been skating together for 13 years. It’s special to look back and see how all the work leads to where we are right now.”
Alex Shibutani, one half of the pair they call the Shib sibs, said: “[This bronze] feels like gold. It’s unbelievable. I am so proud of the way we fought through this week and the season. We are so emotional.”