Canadian ice dancers and now 3 time Olympic medalists, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir opted for a blind strategy in hopes to reclaim gold in PyeongChang. Competing against first time Olympians French skaters Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, their risky tactic paid off and their outstanding performance lead Canada to it’s 8th gold medal.
Less than 24 hours to go until the finale, the pair decided with their team of coaches, trainers and sports psychologists, that no matter what the French team did during the ice dance long program this Tuesday, Virtue and Moir did not want to know about it. This allowed the couple to step on the ice with a clear mind, devoid of any numbers they need to beat in their head taking the focus away from their routine.
Moir even later described the teams’ dedication to the tactic as going as far as “covering their ears when scores were announced”. He also reminisced a conversation with fellow ice-skating champion stating: “Kurt Browning told us once that you compete against other skaters, but everybody gets their own four minutes, so just control that.”
With a gold medal on the line, when Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir got off the ice and received their 122.40 mark for the long program, they had no idea if it was enough to beat the outstanding performance of the French skaters. A few seconds later, their combined score of 206.07 did not only set a new world record for the Canadians, but was confirmation that skating blind brought home gold.
Probable last Olympic performance
After a disappointing silver medal in Sochi, the couple decided to take a break from competing for a few years but are said to have returned not only to reclaim gold. “We really wanted to test our capabilities, and it wasn’t because we were bitter about Sochi or we wanted to rewrite history, or we had something to prove,” Virtue explained. “If anything, it was just that we missed the structure of training, we missed that competitive fire and spirit, and it didn’t feel like we had accomplished everything we wanted to.”
Though they haven’t announced their retirement after winning gold in PyeongChang, the couple often claimed this would probably be their last Olympics. He is 30 and she is 28, and neither thought they would compete in three Olympics when they started skating together 20 years ago, but one thing is for sure, they have inspired generations of skaters to continue the legacy. “They skated the best they’ve ever skated in four events here, four times, and I think a whole generation of skaters will be influenced by them and will be inspired by them. We’re really grateful we had that journey with them” said their coach Marie-France Dubreuil.
We couldn’t agree more, another very proud moment for Team Canada supporters worldwide and an epic Olympic Winter Games 2018 performance to remember.