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Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir
Born: Virtue (1989) Moir (1987)
Discipline: Figure Skating
Years Active: 2006 - Present
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Grace, elegance, poise, confidence, showmanship and talent combined with an innate dose of athleticism have taken this London couple to the pinnacle.
First, they wowed the packed house in Vancouver and captured the hearts of figure skating aficionados everywhere by performing flawlessly to bring home the first gold medal by a Canadian and North American pair in Olympic ice dance.
Then they followed that stunning effort with precision to win the World championship a month later in record fashion in Turin, Italy. Indeed, Tessa Virtue of London, who turned 21 last May, and her partner, 23-year-old Scott Moir of Ilderton had hit a figure skating daily double!
Add the BMO Canadian championship they had won on Budweiser Gardens ice in January and it amounts to a what horse racing fans would call a trifecta. In a preview of what was to come in Vancouver, the twosome took their third straight national title while setting Canadian records for free dance and combined total.
What a season and they aren’t finished yet.
After the worlds in Turin the young skaters embarked on an exhibition tour of Japan, showed their stuff in the cross-Canada Sears Stars on Ice tour which included a stop at the JLC on May 2 where their performance brought the house down. Included was their famous “goose” maneuver where Tessa balances herself on one leg while poised on Scott’s back.
It’s evident all the years of hard work and 30-plus hours of ice sessions a week have paid off handsomely. In winning in Vanouver they placed second in the compulsory dance, earning a personal best of 42.74 points, just 1.02 off the lead. They piled up 68.41 points in the original dance, placing atop that segment of the competition. Then they scored 110.42 points in the free dance, winning gold with a total score of 221.57, and surpassing training mates Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who were skating for the United States, by 5.83 points.
In the free dance Tessa and Scott received four 10.00 marks from judges in the program components, two for the performance execution and two for interpretation.
Statistics can be boring but it should be pointed out that our new ice sensations became the youngest dance team to win the Olympics, the first ice dance team to win gold on their home ice, and the first ice dancers to take gold in their Olympic debut since the inaugural ice event in 1976.
At the worlds, they improved their personal best in the compulsories with 44.13 points. Then they won the original dance with 70.27 points, a world record under the International Skating Union judging system. They placed second in the free dance with 110.03 points, 0.46 behind Davis and White. But overall they scored 224.43 to edge the U.S. couple by 1.40 and take the championship.
The Virtue-Moir team is coached by Igor Shpibank, Marina Zoueva and Johnny Johns with Shpilbank and Zoueva choreographing the programs. Former coaches include Scott’s aunt Carol, Paul McIntosh and Suzanne Killing.
Scott, who like Tessa was born in London but raised in Ilderton, comes from a skating family. He is the younger brother of Danny and Charlie who skated competitively and cousins Sheri and Cara who competed with the Canadian Nexxice team in the 2007 World synchronized skating championships. It’s little wonder that the sign as you enter Ilderton reads Moirville and those screams you hear are the folks at the Ilderton Figure Skating Club.
Currently, it’s back to the grind at their Canton, Michigan training site. There is the coming season’s new international schedule to consider. And looming in the future is the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Meanwhile, the London Sports Hall of Fame has opened its door to a couple of good skates as 2010 inductees. Welcome Tessa and Scott.