Tag Archives: Moir

Scott Moir refutes online allegations of breaking quarantine guideline

Scott Moir says he is in Florida during the pandemic to support his fiancee, and not because he’s on “vacation.”

Moir, 32, took to social media on Thursday because he felt he need to defend the couple from online attacks.

The Canadian figure skater posted a video on Instagram and Twitter on Thursday, explaining that he and fiancee Jackie Mascarin are in Tampa, Fla., because Mascarin works as a physician’s assistant in the respiratory unit of a local hospital.

Moir, of London, Ont., also said the pair were planning to return to their home in Ilderton, Ont., next week, though not via plane.

“The people who are stepping foot in the hospital, front-line workers, first responders, they’re heroes in a time like this and they’re putting their families at risk for the good of the society,” Moir said. “And I feel like as a life partner I should stay here in Tampa and support [Mascarin].”

Moir appears to have posted the video over claims he went to a resort outside of Canada in mid-March, after quarantine guidelines intended to help stop the spread of COVID-19 were put into place.

Moir was supposed to participate in the opening act of the figure skating world championships in Montreal, one of the first major events cancelled over concerns about coronavirus. The event was scheduled to begin Mar. 16.

“There’s people saying that I’ve been back and forth and that I went on vacation after worlds and fact of the matter is we’re in Tampa and we have been in Tampa and we’re in isolation and we’re following the guidelines,” Moir said.

Some others are now claiming it is irresponsible for him to return to Canada, citing those same guidelines and saying he could put others at risk by travelling across borders.

In the video, Moir said he and Mascarin would have “an incredible quarantine action plan” upon their return to Ontario.

“We are Canadians and we wanna help and that’s the whole reason Jackie wanted to be a physician’s assistant — she wanted to help people in need — so we decided that we would stay down here for a couple months and now that that’s done we’re headed home next week.”

Moir won five Olympic medals, including ice dance gold in 2010 and 2018, alongside long-time figure skating partner Tessa Virtue. Virtue has remained in Canada throughout the pandemic alongside boyfriend and Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly in Vancouver.

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CBC | Sports News

Virtue and Moir captivated Canadians with mystery as much as medals

Peeking out from behind a curtain at the Ilderton Winter Club’s annual ice show circa 1999, near London, Ont., and watching Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skate, I was standing with Moir’s big brother Danny, also an ice dancer, who told me that he needed to retire from the sport because Tessa and Scott, then preteens, were that good.

Even then, the potential of that young dance team was remarkable and easy to spot.

What we couldn’t have known more than 20 years ago was their eventual and deserved elevation to legendary status.

Virtue and Moir have won everything there is to win in the sport, from two individual ice dance Olympic gold medals, to an Olympic team title and then two more Olympic silvers to boot. And that doesn’t even include world championships and other titles. But their accomplishments are only part of the story.

Early on, Canadians were captivated by Virtue and Moir’s relationship as observed in their programs on the ice. It didn’t seem to matter which program you watched, the idea that you had somehow come upon a private moment between two people is how I can best describe Virtue and Moir’s skating.

WATCH | Virtue and Moir win gold in Vancouver 2010:

Watch Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s gold medal ice dance skate from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. 6:26

That care, commitment and courtesy extended to how they presented themselves off the ice. The idea of a relationship between two equals was irresistible and we ate it up. 

That Virtue and Moir have been able to walk a fine line between mystery and accessibility throughout their career has been part of their appeal. I don’t know of two more gracious athletes in victory and defeat. Away from the cameras, they have taken care to respect and acknowledge their fans.

None of this is to say that these two aren’t serious artists or intensely competitive. They are. Their careers and their programs have run the gamut from sweet and innocent, like their Vancouver 2010 gold-winning routine, to Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, to their sultry Carmen and most recently, their unabashedly strong Moulin Rouge winning routine in Pyeongchang in 2018.

WATCH | More gold in Pyeongchang 2018:

The Canadian duo reigned supreme in South Korea. 2:20

Winning is the goal and is in the heart of every athlete. Every figure skating season starts with the hope that the pre-season work leading into competition will be enough to capture the judges’ attention. What separates Virtue and Moir from the rest is their willingness to take risks artistically and satisfy themselves first.

On their Twitter video announcing they were retiring, Moir mentioned how lucky they were to have shared their career with everyone. Truth be told, we were the lucky ones.


The Canadian identity for many includes qualities of humility, grace under pressure and fearlessness. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took those ingredients, added a few more and invited Canadian fans to share in the result. If Virtue and Moir wore jerseys on their backs, now would be the time to retire their numbers and hang them from the rafters in their honour. 

Thanks for the memories.

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CBC | Sports News

Virtue and Moir announce they are ‘stepping away’ from figure skating

Canadian figure skating icons Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir announced in a video posted to Twitter late Tuesday night that they are ‘stepping away’ from the sport after 22 years.

The duo is currently preparing for the Rock the Rink Tour and thanked fans for their support with an emotional message.


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CBC | Sports News

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir named CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year

Everything that can be said about Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir pretty much has already been said — and deservedly so.

The iconic ice dancers who enthralled Canadians for years concluded their illustrious careers with not one, but two gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The subsequent celebrations and farewell tour gave their many admirers one last chance to see Tessa and Scott — their fans always call them by their first names — and to reflect on a partnership that has spanned two decades.

Now it's our turn. Naming Tessa and Scott the CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year gives us another opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and to relive a moment that captivated an entire nation in 2018.

Take a look back at Tessa and Scott's 2018:

A perfectly executed Olympic moment made Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir CBC Sports pick for Canadian athletes of the 2018. 0:59

It could have all ended much differently at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Tessa and Scott entered the free dance with an incredibly slim lead over France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, despite breaking their own record score in the short dance the night before.

That, plus two American pairs within striking distance, left every conceivable outcome in play — from gold to missing the podium outright. Things only became more tense when Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, skating before Virtue and Moir and seemingly unfazed by a costume malfunction that marred their short dance the day before, set a new world record in the free program.

The French team's performance, set to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, mesmerized the judges, who gave them the highest overall score ever.

In that moment, the chance of a golden send-off for Tessa and Scott seemed to be slipping away. To eclipse their French training partners — how's that for additional intrigue? — they would need to surpass their previous personal best in the free skate and shatter a freshly minted world record.

No matter what, it would still be a fine farewell for the venerated Canadians, who had won a team-event gold in Pyeongchang to go along with their ice dance title from Vancouver in 2010 and a pair of silvers from Sochi. Tessa and Scott took the ice as fans around the world watched in quiet anticipation. That silence would not last long.

Watch Tessa and Scott's full free dance:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's free program from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 9:07

The Moulin Rouge free routine was a perfect fit — a dance exuding the raw passion the duo became famous for.

As the spectacle unfolded on the ice, any feelings of doubt or uncertainty among their fans gave way, replaced with a sense of awe and an appreciation for what was happening.

The intimacy Tessa and Scott brought to that final routine made it seem as if everyone had a front-row seat to their performance — from those watching in their Ontario hometowns of London and Ilderton, respectively, to Canadians nationwide and fans glued to their screens at home or at viewing parties.

When the final note sounded, a roar erupted from the crowd in South Korea as the two embraced on the ice. The final scores came shortly after — Tessa and Scott would cap off their Olympic careers with gold around their necks and a new overall world record.

Watch highlights from Tessa and Scott's farewell Olympics:

A look back on the final Olympic Games for Canadian figure skating legends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. 5:46

The year 2018 was filled with remarkable performances by Canadians, and Tessa and Scott were far from the only ones considered for our Athletes of the Year.

Golfer Brooke Henderson, with her entire career still ahead of her, secured her place in the pantheon of great Canadian athletes by becoming the first woman in 45 years to capture the national title — against an immensely talented field of competitors, no less, at the CP Women's Open.

Figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond, another member of the Canadian squad who won Olympic team gold, went toe to toe with a pair of Russian titans to capture women's bronze in Pyeongchang and later followed it up with a world championship crown.

Watch Scott Russell and Heather Hiscox discuss this year's award:

Scott Russell, host of CBC Sports' Road to the Olympic Games, joined Heather Hiscox to discuss CBC Sports' choice for the Canadian Athletes of the Year. 6:16

On the subject of royalty, 2018 Lou Marsh Trophy winner Mikael Kingsbury captured a long-coveted Olympic moguls gold to go along with a pair of Crystal Globes from the World Cup circuit and is showing no signs of slowing down. He recently surpassed 50 career World Cup wins and has kept adding to his haul since then.

These impressive feats emphasize the elite company that Tessa and Scott found themselves in this year. Their final free skate will be remembered fondly as a moment that transcended sports and made Canadians feel united, however briefly, by the grace and power of two of their finest champions.

Take a look back at Tessa and Scott's career together:

A look back at Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's figure skating legacy, set to Jim Cuddy's "Pull Me Through".​ 4:32

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CBC | Sports News

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir named CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year

Everything that can be said about Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir pretty much has already been said — and deservedly so.

The iconic ice dancers who enthralled Canadians for years concluded their illustrious careers with not one, but two gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The subsequent celebrations and farewell tour gave their many admirers one last chance to see Tessa and Scott — their fans always call them by their first names — and to reflect on a partnership that has spanned two decades.

Now it's our turn. Naming Tessa and Scott the CBC Sports Canadian Athletes of the Year gives us another opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and to relive a moment that captivated an entire nation in 2018.

Take a look back at Tessa and Scott's career together:

A look back at Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's figure skating legacy, set to Jim Cuddy's "Pull Me Through".​ 4:32

It could have all ended much differently at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Tessa and Scott entered the free dance with an incredibly slim lead over France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, despite breaking their own record score in the short dance the night before.

That, plus two American pairs within striking distance, left every conceivable outcome in play — from gold to missing the podium outright. Things only became more tense when Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, skating before Virtue and Moir and seemingly unfazed by a costume malfunction that marred their short dance the day before, set a new world record in the free program.

The French team's performance, set to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, mesmerized the judges, who gave them the highest overall score ever.

In that moment, the chance of a golden send-off for Tessa and Scott seemed to be slipping away. To eclipse their French training partners — how's that for additional intrigue? — they would need to surpass their previous personal best in the free skate and shatter a freshly minted world record.

No matter what, it would still be a fine farewell for the venerated Canadians, who had won a team-event gold in Pyeongchang to go along with their ice dance title from Vancouver in 2010 and a pair of silvers from Sochi. Tessa and Scott took the ice as fans around the world watched in quiet anticipation. That silence would not last long.

Watch Tessa and Scott's full free dance:

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's free program from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. 9:07

The Moulin Rouge free routine was a perfect fit — a dance exuding the raw passion the duo became famous for.

As the spectacle unfolded on the ice, any feelings of doubt or uncertainty among their fans gave way, replaced with a sense of awe and an appreciation for what was happening.

The intimacy Tessa and Scott brought to that final routine made it seem as if everyone had a front-row seat to their performance — from those watching in their Ontario hometowns of London and Ilderton, respectively, to Canadians nationwide and fans glued to their screens at home or at viewing parties.

When the final note sounded, a roar erupted from the crowd in South Korea as the two embraced on the ice. The final scores came shortly after — Tessa and Scott would cap off their Olympic careers with gold around their necks and a new overall world record.

Watch highlights from Tessa and Scott's farewell Olympics:

A look back on the final Olympic Games for Canadian figure skating legends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. 5:46

The year 2018 was filled with remarkable performances by Canadians, and Tessa and Scott were far from the only ones considered for our Athletes of the Year.

Golfer Brooke Henderson, with her entire career still ahead of her, secured her place in the pantheon of great Canadian athletes by becoming the first woman in 45 years to capture the national title — against an immensely talented field of competitors, no less, at the CP Women's Open.

Figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond, another member of the Canadian squad who won Olympic team gold, went toe to toe with a pair of Russian titans to capture women's bronze in Pyeongchang and later followed it up with a world championship crown.

On the subject of royalty, 2018 Lou Marsh Trophy winner Mikael Kingsbury captured a long-coveted Olympic moguls gold to go along with a pair of Crystal Globes from the World Cup circuit and is showing no signs of slowing down. He recently surpassed 50 career World Cup wins and has kept adding to his haul since then.

These impressive feats emphasize the elite company that Tessa and Scott found themselves in this year. Their final free skate will be remembered fondly as a moment that transcended sports and made Canadians feel united, however briefly, by the grace and power of two of their finest champions.

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CBC | Sports News

Hero's welcome awaits Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

Hundreds of fans filled up the tiny arrival section of the airport in London, Ont., belting out the national anthem and waving Canadian flags to welcome ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The pair signed flags, signs and Tim Hortons cups in what will be their last Olympic homecoming, as they retire from professional ice dancing after winning two sets of gold medals at the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Their first-place wins in ice dancing and team figure skating in South Korea brought their total Olympic medal count to five, making them the most decorated figure skaters in the history of the Games.

Cheering crowds also greeted Canada’s athletes in Vancouver, where gold medallists Cassie Sharpe and Patrick Chan returned Monday.

In London, Moir and Virtue were shocked by the number of people who came out to meet them.

“We’re tired but this is so exciting for us, we’ve been thinking about this moment being back home since we won the gold medal,” said Moir, who is from nearby Ilderton, Ont. “It’s been unbelievable, we haven’t come down from Cloud 9.”

Moir said representing Canada had only gotten more special in his third Olympics with Virtue.

“None of the magic had worn off,” said Moir, who together with Virtue was Canada’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony. “If anything, you feel more patriotic and we understand more what it means to represent Canada and wear the flag on our back.”

“It’s special and sentimental because it’s been 20 years in the making and it’s the culmination of it all competitively,” added Virtue. “It couldn’t have gone any better for us.”

Asked when they think they’ll come down from the high of winning, Virtue replied: “do we have to?”

The duo has been melting hearts since they claimed gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, but this year they garnered a whole new group of fans who swooned over their chemistry on the ice. Some have suggested they might be in a romantic relationship — a rumour the athletes have been denying for years.

Resident Cassie Caranci, who came to the airport early to get a spot at the front of the packed arrival section, said she has been following the skaters’ careers since they started.

“It was really important for me to see them come here,” Caranci said. “Seeing them in the last Winter Games and then seeing them make their comeback, I’m a proud Londoner.”

Chan, Sharpe’s golden return

A crowd of lively fans dressed in red, waving Canadian flags and singing the national anthem flocked to Vancouver’s airport Monday to greet Canadian Olympic gold medallists Cassie Sharpe and Patrick Chan, as well as other athletes returning from Pyeongchang.

Chan said it was just beginning to sink in that he’d won gold in the team skating event.

“It’s a nice feeling,” the Toronto skater said with a grin, adding that he plans to leave it in his suitcase for a little while.

“I’ll take a look at it every once in a while. It’s sometimes better to keep it away and then just enjoy it once in a while.”

Chan, 27, is now set to retire, although he said he would continue to be involved in skating and perform at shows. He also hopes to eventually open his own skating school that will bring together Vancouver-area coaches and athletes.

“I’ve waited for so long, in a way,” said Chan, who recently relocated to Vancouver. “It’s a new beginning and a rebirth.”

Sharpe, from Comox, B.C., also said she was excited to be back in her own bed, cook herself some food and “just hang out.” Her gold medal in freestyle skiing halfpipe was tucked into the pocket of her Team Canada sweater.

“It’s phenomenal,” she said. “It feels even better to hold it on Canadian soil. It feels good bringing it home.”

“Personally, it’s a bucket list thing. How many people get to say they won gold at the Olympics?” she added. “But then of course, feeling the pride and feeling everybody from Canada being so proud of you and being so happy that you’re bringing it home to them … it’s incredible.”

Agosta will return to police force in May

Women’s hockey veteran Meghan Agosta was wearing her silver medal as she arrived in Vancouver. She said it was “unfortunate” that the final game against the U.S. ended in a 3-2 shootout loss.

“When it comes down to a shootout, anything could happen,” she said. “But I’m so proud and happy with every single one of us girls in that room, we showed a lot of character, a lot of resilience.”

Asked about her teammate Jocelyn Larocque’s initial refusal to wear her silver medal on the ice, Agosta said it was the “heat of the moment.

“The decision that she made, it wasn’t any ill will,” said Agosta. “She didn’t mean to disrespect anybody. We train so hard and we went there for gold. It was unfortunate that we ended up losing, but Jocelyn Larocque, she’s an amazing leader, an amazing person, a great teammate.”

Agosta took a year off from her job as a Vancouver police officer to train for the Olympics. She said she returns to the force in May.

Bobsled pilot Chris Spring of Priddis, Alta., who didn’t bring home a medal, said he was excited for his fellow athletes who did. He said he was driving well during the two-man race but made a poor choice of runners on the first day, and his efforts to be aggressive on the second day didn’t pan out.

“Huge credit to the coaching staff and everyone behind the scenes, the mechanics,” he said after arriving in Vancouver.

“I was excited to leave,” he added with a laugh. “If you have a great Games, you’re excited to come home and share your results with Canada here, with family and friends. If you don’t have a great result at the Games, then you’re also pretty excited to get home.”

‘Doesn’t feel real’ for Kaetlyn Osmond

Figure skater Kaetlyn Osmond arrived home in Edmonton on Monday afternoon, her bags a little heavier than when she left for Pyeongchang a month ago.

The Olympian was greeted by a crowd of family and friends at the Edmonton International Airport. When she pulled her gold and bronze medals from her backpack, they erupted in cheers.

“It still doesn’t feel real,” she said. “I think it will take a few days home before it all sinks in. But the time away has been incredible and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”

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Virtue, Moir capture 8th Canadian ice dance title with immaculate performance

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir captured their eighth Canadian figure skating title on Saturday, in their final appearance in the event.

Gabrielle Daleman won the women’s singles title on her 20th birthday.

Virtue and Moir brought the crowd to its feet with their sensual skate to music from “Moulin Rouge,” scoring 209.82 for the victory.

Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., came back from a two-year hiatus with the goal of winning gold in Pyeongchang. They’ll retire after the Olympics.

Virtue, Moir make statement with ‘edgy’ program

In one particularly steamy lift that prompted questions from reporters, Virtue sticks a toe pick in the ice to propel herself up backwards so that she’s straddling Moir’s shoulders, her hands clasping the back of his head.

Moir called it “suggestive.”

The pair won their 8th Canadian ice dance title after posting a near perfect score of 209.82 at the National Skating Championships in Vancouver, B.C.0:30

“I think ‘edgy’ would probably summarize most of the program quite well, and that’s what we were going for,” Virtue said. “We knew taking the ice at the Olympic Games again meant that we had to have a different style, and we wanted to make a bit of a different statement, and if that was bringing a certain edge or sexuality or darkness or a contemporary feeling to it, mission accomplished I guess.”

Baz Luhrmann’s 2001 musical movie “Moulin Rouge!” tells the story of Christian, played by Ewan McGregor, who falls in love with cabaret actress and courtesan Satine Nicole Kidman).

Moir, dressed in black, and Virtue, in a sleek red backless dress, scored 209.82 points, breaking their Canadian record by about six points. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto claimed silver with 192.08, while Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Waterloo, Ont., climbed into third with 191.09, after finishing fourth in Friday’s short dance.

‘A big moment’ 

When they struck their final pose, Moir covered his mouth a hand, the way a baseball player secretively does with a glove, and spoke to Virtue.

“It was just about taking in the moment,” Moir said. “We were really proud of that.”

Then Moir promptly tripped on a toe pick to laughter from the crowd.

“That wasn’t on purpose,” Moir said. “This was a big moment for Tessa and I, we were really excited … we don’t feel like we’ll be back on this stage again, and so we wanted to make sure we had good performances, and what a great practice for the Olympic Games because it’s a very similar feeling when you have so much pressure. Sometimes after you bow, you kind of forget how to skate to get to the kiss and cry.”

Weaver, Poje bounce back

Virtue said the two didn’t overthink the program, but rather let their training carry them.

“This is the moment we’ve been training for and we have to get out of heads a little bit and allow the program the freedom to simply just enjoy,” she said.

Weaver and Poje bounced back from their mishap Friday — Poje fell on the twizzles, which are side-by-side spins that travel across the ice, and are worth huge marks in dance. Skating to their popular “Je Suis Malade” from 2012 that they resurrected for this Olympic season, the duo also earned a standing ovation.

“I think we had nothing to lose,” Weaver said. “We just wanted to show people what we train. That was where the pressure was, it was totally intrinsic. And we had to go back to what this program represents for us, and that’s an emotional journey, and when we do that, everything falls into place.”

Daleman wins title on 20th birthday

Daleman, from Richmond Hill, Ont., had the crowd roaring with her skate to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” landing seven triple jumps despite battling pneumonia. Kaetlyn Osmond, who won silver at last year’s world championships, fell twice to finish with 218.73. Larkyn Austman of Vancouver won bronze with 169.62. 

Daleman, despite battling pneumonia, turned in a beautiful performance to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” to capture the Canadian women’s skating title on her 20th birthday0:29

Daleman missed the ice dearly in the three months she spent rehabilitating after abdominal surgery.

So when Daleman captured the women’s singles title at the Canadian figure skating championships — on her 20th birthday — she paused to appreciate the rocky road she’d travelled to get there.

“You become way more grateful for what you’re able to do and how lucky you are when you can’t do it, and that’s what’s really changed me this past year,” said Daleman.

“I said [Friday] that was the way to end 19 … this is the way to start 20. It is the absolute best birthday present I could ever ask for.”

Daleman underwent emergency surgery for an abdominal cyst last May that she said saved her life.

Daleman battles through illness to win

Osmond and Daleman roared to an historic silver and bronze medal performance, respectively, at last year’s world championships in Finland, setting up a fierce rivalry on the virtual eve of the Pyeongchang Olympics, where they’re both within striking distance of the medal podium.

“This [national title] means so much more to me,” said Daleman, who won the gold in 2015. “You’re competing against No. 2 in the world, she’s a very tough competitor, she pushes me, when I’m home training I make sure I picture in my mind what would she be doing, and I try to push harder, I do that with [Russian world champion Evgenia] Medvedeva too.”

Daleman had been battling chest congestion for a couple of weeks and was diagnosed with pneumonia on Thursday. Unable to sleep Friday, she called her boyfriend back in Toronto at midnight, finally falling asleep around 1:30 a.m., and then had a 4:30 a.m. wakeup call for a hair and makeup session and a morning practice.

The illness and fatigue certainly wasn’t noticeable in her powerful skating and huge jumps, and her score that topped Osmond’s previous Canadian record by about 10 points.

“I didn’t even care that I couldn’t breathe, I just skated from my heart,” she said.

Osmond plagued by ‘silly mistakes’

Osmond, meanwhile, was disappointed with her two mishaps. The 22-year-old fell on her triple loop in the short program the previous night. She got off to a strong start in Saturday’s long program to music from “Black Swan,” but fell on her triple loop and triple flip.

“Silly mistakes are what’s getting me,” Osmond said. “I don’t know the last time I did miss that flip. My loop, it was just the confidence, I lost a bit of confidence on the landing. So they’re silly mistakes, ones that I don’t usually make, I’ve been working on them so hard at home, and I’ve done them numerous times in a row. So I am frustrated that I can’t bring that into my competition side.”

Patrick Chan competes for a record 10th Canadian title later Saturday, and Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford go for their seventh consecutive pairs title.

The Olympic team will be named Sunday.

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Virtue, Moir hope revamped programs will lift them to Olympic gold

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir came out of retirement with one goal in mind. They envision standing on the Olympic medal podium when the curtain comes down on their competitive career. Only the top step will do.

So when they lost for the first time in more than a year at the Grand Prix Final in December, the veteran ice dancers headed back to the drawing board.

Virtue and Moir will unveil revamped programs, particularly their free dance to “Moulin Rouge,” at this week’s Canadian figure skating championships in Vancouver, a bold move they believe will help propel them to gold.

“We don’t plan on coming second at the Olympics like we did at Grand Prix finals,” Moir said. “We’re excited to showcase a lot of new elements for us. A couple of big changes that we’re really excited about. We’ve worked quite hard in December.”

The 28-year-old Virtue and Moir, 30, captured gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but were beaten by American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White four years later in Sochi.

Unbeaten streak ended

Two years into a trial retirement, they decided to launch a comeback, and roared to a spectacular unbeaten streak that included world championship gold and a string of world record scores. But they lost to Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron at last month’s Grand Prix Final by less than three points.

The most significant change comes in their free dance, which opens to “Roxanne” and ends with the dreamy “Come What May,” sung by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

They’ve made some edits to the music, to emphasize “the duet and the love story, culminating in a bigger, more theatrical ending,” Virtue said.

After returning to active competition a year ago, Canada’s premiere ice dance duo is ready to take on the world in South Korea.8:32

“Having trained and performed this program so many times, it’s ingrained in our bodies and we’re so committed to this storyline, and we love it, but bringing in some fresh movement, it feels like the programs are reborn. And we are thrilled with the direction it’s taken. I think it will be hopefully more appealing to the masses.”

“It was time to let it build and really have that Olympic feeling at the end.”

Daily look at biggest competition

Virtue and Moir train at the same rink as Papadakis and Cizeron, a situation that draws comparisons to their pre-Sochi environment. Back then they shared a rink with Davis and White, plus a coach in Marina Zoueva. When they came out of retirement, they moved to Montreal where they train with Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

Once again, they have front-row seats to their biggest competitors on a daily basis. But rather than drawing direct comparisons, Moir said they use it as motivation.

“We will watch a little bit of tape, especially when you’re trying to understand marks … what’s getting good levels, we will watch a little bit. But we mostly leave that up to our coaching staff. That’s strategizing against other teams and being compared, it’s something we want to stay away from.

“I got carried away with that in the past. It wasn’t helpful. It actually kind of robbed me of what I love most about this sport — enjoying skating with Tessa.”

‘We’re in a fabulous position’

Pyeongchang will be the culmination of an outstanding career 21 years in the making. They’ve won seven world championship medals, including three gold, and seven Canadian titles — coincidentally earning their first title a decade ago in this same West Coast city.

It’s tough not to be sentimental as they near the end of their career, Virtue said.

“This whole comeback process has just been so fulfilling and incredibly rewarding,” she said. “We’ve been trying to embrace it, every bit of it. The anxiety and the pressure and the stress is all building … so we’re trying to remember that this is such a privilege, all of this pressure, it’s such an opportunity for us.

“We’re in a fabulous position, we really just have to embrace it all, the highs and lows, and be present every step of the way.”

Canada will send three ice dance teams to Pyeongchang. Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, and Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are expected to secure the two other spots.

The senior competition at the Canadian championships begins Friday at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.

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Virtue & Moir: Canadian Olympic athletes of the year

When Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir decided to step away from competition after the 2014 Olympics, figure skating felt a little empty.

Turns out they, too, felt a little empty without the sport. During their two-season hiatus, the iconic Canadian duo discovered they craved deeply the unique enticements of world-class ice dance.

As Virtue told the CBC’s Susan Ormiston, she missed “everything that comes with putting yourself out there, and being vulnerable in a competitive setting.”

So they returned in the fall of 2016, and they’ve looked better than ever as they chase a second Olympic gold medal in what will likely be their final Winter Games in early 2018.

But right now it’s the end of 2017 — a time to look back and declare that, for all the times they reminded us of their brilliance, Virtue and Moir are CBCSports.ca’s choice for the Canadian Olympic athletes of the year.

Virtue and Moir focused on Pyeonchang gold8:32

Trust the process

This year began the way most do for Tessa and Scott — with a national title. They captured their seventh Canadian ice dance crown in January in Ottawa. In the spring they became world champions for a third time.

This fall, they started the Grand Prix season with a pair of wins before dropping to silver at the Grand Prix Final. It was their first defeat since announcing their comeback. The winners were France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron — their main obstacles to recapturing Olympic gold in South Korea this February.

Virtue and Moir also had to settle for a silver at the 2014 Sochi Games, where Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White came out on top. The Canadians insist they don’t feel bitterness about that result, and the upcoming Olympics are their main — but not only — motivation.

“Everything about this two-year plan that we had created was setting us up for that moment on the Olympic ice,” says Virtue. “But if that were it, that wouldn’t be enough to push ourselves in training every single day.”

So, says Virtue, they also focus on being strong athletes, the joy of artistry, and even small technical improvements.
 
“Winning gold in Pyeongchang is the goal, but that can’t be everything and that can’t be how we define ourselves,” she says.

Obsessing with process over results is how many Olympians cope mentally with the crushing pressure of having to deliver at a specific moment every four years.

“You can’t just measure yourself solely on winning that medal. It has to be on the everyday experience,” says Moir, “And as cliché​ as it sounds, it’s truly what has worked for us.”

virtue-moir-papdakis-cizeron-1180

Virtue and Moir are friendly with their chief rivals, France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guilaume Cizeron, who will challenge them for gold in South Korea in February. (Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images)

New material, new rivals

Watching them skate, Virtue and Moir certainly look not only refreshed, but inspired.

Their free dance this season is set to music from the film Moulin Rouge! and there is a lift they execute at the end of El Tango de Roxanne that is as acrobatic as it is emotional. 

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skate to gold at NHK Trophy8:24

In their free dance, Virtue is unwavering and bright. Moir is a compelling character during the tango, and extremely expressive.

“We wanted drama, we wanted passion, we wanted romance, we wanted to highlight our strengths while still pushing ourselves in different directions,” Virtue told Ormiston.

“That’s what we love to do and I think our skating’s at it’s best when we do that,” says Moir. “When we draw people in and hopefully make them feel something.” 

Virtue and Moir hope that helps make the difference at the Olympics against Papadakis and Cizeron, who have supplanted the retired Davis and White as the Canadians’ chief rivals.

The teams are friendly off the ice — they both work with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon in Montreal  — but have traded shots in competition all season. After Virtue and Moir broke their own total-score world record in winning the Skate Canada Grand Prix event in October, Papadakis and Cizeron became the first dance team to crest the 200-point mark — an achievement Moir envies — when they won the Cup of China the next week.

The younger French team topped that in early December at the Grand Prix Final in Japan, where they defeated Virtue and Moir 202.16 to 199.86, setting up the Olympic showdown.

France’s Gabriella Papadakis, Guillaume Cizeron skate to gold medal at ISU Grand Prix Final7:52

Given those results, some have argued Papadakis and Cizeron should be considered the favourites in Pyeongchang.

“We know that we’ll have to be at our best, or close, to compete with Gabriella and Guillaume,” says Moir.

As we saw again this year, at their best is where Virtue and Moir always seem to be.

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Virtue, Moir denied gold by French rivals at Grand Prix Final

Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir finished second at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya, Japan, on Saturday.

Despite a season’s best free dance, the duo were unable to unseat the leaders after the short dance, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France.

The French skaters held a slim 0.54 point lead, but also posted a season’s best free dance to finish first with a total score of 202.16.

Virtue and Moir were next with 199.86, while American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani were third with 188.00

Duhamel, Radford take bronze

In pairs action, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were in fifth place after the short program but rallied to a bronze-medal finish on Saturday.

Germany’s Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot won the pairs event with a total score of 236.68, followed by China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (230.89) and the Canadians (210.83).

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