Virtue and Moir rival Torvill and Dean as ice dancing's greatest

Virtue and Moir rival Torvill and Dean as ice dancing's greatest
By Sportsbeat

20/02/2018 at 08:36Updated

And they saved the best till last. Figure skating's Olympic ice dance competition had it all - show tunes set to a swing break, sequins, glitter, wardrobe malfunctions, pearly white smiles as frozen as the ice on which they skate and tears. Lots of tears.

For elegance and elan, this is where it's at and yet there are few more tawdry sports at the Games, wipe away the make-up and all is never as it seems.

But no dodgy judge could corrupt this, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took it out of their hands with two skates of seemingly effortless and undeniable brilliance to became only the second couple, after Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov, to win two Olympic ice dance golds.

And didn't need to know your mohawk turn from your camel spin to understand just how good it was.

"Maybe it's time for us to move on but we'll wait for the dust to settle before announcing anything," said Moir, who along with his partner now has a record five Olympic figure skating medals.

"I've shaved ten years off my life with the anxiety of competing against these guys.

"It's time for us to move on and we've got some great guys to step up and take our spot.

But we'll wait to official announce something. I used to laugh when people told us we'd do three Olympics but we want to wait and make sure it's for sure before we retire."

Virtue and Moir broke the world record with saucy short dance set to the music of the Rolling Stones - never mind a string of perfect sixes, it was x-rated, screen after the watershed sort of stuff.

And they swaggered like Jagger again to bring the curtain down on their storied career with a flawless free skate set to the music of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge.

France's Gabriella Papadakis, whose troublesome dress was the previous day's talking point, and Guillaume Cizeron actually bettered their score with their foot-perfect free dance and surely their time will come.

But across both skates no-one was arguing the Canadians weren't value for gold, as American brother and sister Maia and Alex Shibutani took bronze, with Britain's Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland back in 11th.

After winning gold in Vancouver, Virtue and Moir took silver in Sochi, with mutterings about grubby back room deals between the USA and Russia to carve up the podium places.

They had unfinished business with the Olympics and deservedly leave Korea with double gold, after helping Canada to win the team event last week.

"Tessa has put up with me for 20 years and that's fantastic," added Moir.

"We've been fortunate to have each other and share this together. We've relied on each other for so much of our lives, we moved away together at young age to chase this crazy dream and it paid off.

"I could never skate with someone else, the whole reason I wanted to be here again is to be close to Tess again and share those moments. When I travel to the rink I'm still excited to see Tessa and who enjoys going in to work every day for 20 years?"

Robin Cousins, who won men's figure skating gold for Great Britain in 1980, believes Virtue and Moir can now be ranked alongside Torvill and Dean, the barometer on which all are judged, as the greatest ice dancers in history.

"They've been an inspiration and they've moved the sport on," said British ice dancer Nicholas Buckland.

"Torvill and Dean were absolute icons but Tessa and Scott are icons too, they are something else."

"I think it's the right winner on the night, that performance took me emotionally. They've delivered possibly the best performance of their careers and that's what Olympic champions do."

They will always be speculation about their romantic status and they were once sweethearts. She was seven, he was nine, spending every non-school hour on the local rink under the charge of Virtue's aunt, their first coach.

In two decades together since they've become almost as one.

You watch as they stretch, sway and arc their bodies in perfect symmetry, interpreting each note and beat of their music in a combination of artistry and athleticism.

Every movement is coordinated, nothing is static. Their skating has unmatched power, allowing them to generate speed as their flawlessly float across the ice, the definition of poetry in motion.

"We're extremely proud and these are moments that we won't forget," added Moir.

"We want to be remembered for inspiring the next generation and hopefully ice dancers can keep pushing this sport to a new level. We've raised each other to a new level."

"I don't know what we've given to ice dance, we can't even watch tape of ourselves, maybe when we are sitting in our rocking chairs that might change.

And it could almost have been so different.

"I used to dream about going to the Olympics, in school I wrote in my journal that I wanted to be here - but it was with Danny, Scott's brother, so I'm close to my dream," joked Virtue.

Sportsbeat 2018

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