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SportsRosie DiManno: Virtue and Moir waltz into retirement as ice dancing’s GOATs with nothing left to prove

11:20  19 september  2019
11:20  19 september  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir call it quits competitively with four world championships (three senior, one junior), five They were born to ice dance to Mahler, most especially the ethereal Virtue in her dewy days. Canada was blessed to have them for so long, ice dancing into legend. Rosie DiManno is a

Rosie DiManno : Virtue and Moir waltz into retirement as ice dancing ’ s GOATs with nothing left to prove . Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir call it quits competitively with four world championships (three senior, one junior), five Olympic medals (including in the team event) and eight national titles.

Rosie DiManno: Virtue and Moir waltz into retirement as ice dancing’s GOATs with nothing left to prove© Steve Russell Canadian legends Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue made their final Winter Olympics a winner, capturing ice dance gold in Pyeongchang.

Let’s kiss. And cry.

Because it’s been … a wally, a twizzle, a Canada Goose.

A slice of almost too nice from the iconic ice dance duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The GOATs of their sport.

But, 22 years on, the incandescent couple — who never were a couple, much as the world yearned for their on-ice pretend romance to be off-ice real romance — have formally announced their retirement.

Called it quits while most of us were sleeping, with the release of a reveal video posted on their separate Twitter accounts late Tuesday night.

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Opinion | Rosie DiManno : Virtue and Moir heating up for the Olympics. The program, even in its gentler variation, still takes ice dancing drama to keen heights, reflecting a ripened, more mature tandem who’ll be delivering the last dance of their competitive career.

Opinion | Rosie DiManno : Ice dance competition a battle between Canada and France. That Virtue and Moir emerged from their third and final Olympics restored to golden was despite the But figure skating has a notorious history of judging chicanery, especially in ice dancing .

In the venue where they’ve always been most comfortable and which they’ve commanded, at international elite level, for more than a decade: the rink.

Cheek-to-cheek and cheeky. Because they’ve always been adorably cute.

“After 22 years, it feels like the right time to step away from the sport,” says Virtue, on the selfie that Moir is videotaping. “This is so personal and emotional for both of us. We’re just so grateful. How lucky are we really that we got to share all of this together and with all of you.:

Moir, trying not to choke up, although tears are pretty much a prerequisite in figure skating: “Twenty-two years and it’s been — I can’t put that into words. I’m not going to be emotional. This is my first selfie video ever and I’m not going to cry in it.”

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Soon thereafter, ice dancing sank back into its ballroom dancing roots. Yet it remains the most popular of the figure skating disciplines — by TV viewership numbers and event ticket sales. But ice dancing has sorely missed Virtue and Moir during the two-year sabbatical — a quasi- retirement

Ice dance is about selling romance. Olympic gold medalists Virtue and Moir are brilliant marketers. Slate recently speculated that adding actual sex into a figure skating partnership might quantifiably Ice dancers clearly know this: No fewer than five ice dancing pairs who are also real-life couples

The most decorated Olympic figure skaters ever aren’t actually going to Choctaw into the sunset. They’re preparing for a Canada-wide Rock the Rink Tour which begins in Abbotsford, B.C. on Oct. 5 and ends Nov. 23 in St. John, N.L. The competing, however, is over. And while the figure skating community has pretty much known that since the tandem’s repeat gold medal performance at the Pyeongchang Olympics last year, they’d played it coy, never before unequivocally stating they were done.

They’re 30 and 32 now, not necessarily over-the-hill for ice dancing. But heavens, where have the years gone?

I first saw them as fresh-faced arrivistes at the 2008 world championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. Not entirely unknown — they’d been junior world champions two years earlier and made a seniors debut splash by finishing sixth at worlds in 2007. It was in Gothenburg, however, where they truly opened eyes with their sublime “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” free dance and a stunning silver medal.

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By Rosie DiMannoStar Columnist. Virtue and Scott Moir , the divine ice dancing couple from London, Ont., retrieved their world title here Thursday night, the championship gold lost a year ago to It is unusual for Virtue and Moir to finish a performance and not be rewarded with a standing ovation.

Virtue and Moir , performing both their short and long programs, committed significant if atypical errors. The Americans were better, though far from flawless. The coach bristles at suggestions she has crafted a more appealing free dance for the Americans —seeking a first-ever Olympic ice dance gold

Demure and classy, with breathtaking rotational lifts. While pushing ice dance forward in athleticism and innovation, they also gently pulled it back to its elegant ballroom dancing roots. The discipline had gone haywire, frankly, too gaudy and showbizzy, with eccentric costumes and over-the-top hamming, as if overcompensating for strict rules that forbade jumps and throws and above-the-shoulder lifts. So it became more vaudeville theatre than sport, with lots of still-life draping. Vogue with the pose.

Virtue and Moir certainly weren’t short on flash. They originated never-before-seen movements and magnificent tricks. Some were so risky — susceptible to splatting calamity — that they were forced to drop them.

Judges were in thrall from the beginning — their speed across the ice, the whiplash twists and turns, the technical fortitude; how they channelled the essence of a program, their incomparable musical interpretation. Best exemplified, I think, in their rendition of Gustav Mahler. They were born to ice dance to Mahler, most especially the ethereal Virtue in her dewy days.

Canadian ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir announce retirement

Canadian ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir announce retirement After nearly two decades of dominance, Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are hanging up the skates. The pair announced their retirement in a video shared on both of their Twitter accounts. In the video, the Olympic champions were — as you may have guessed — skating around the rink they call home, smiling and holding each other close. “We’ve spent 22 years coasting around the outside of the rink, hanging out together, making programs, trying to soak up our sporting experience,” Moir said. “And after 22 years it feels like the right time to step away from the sport,” continued Virtue.

The defending Olympic ice dance champions could lose gold all on their own to American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White — fix or no fix. Virtue put a foot wrong in the spinning rotational element during the short program of the team event Saturday night, so there was no quibbling about the second-place

Still steaming over Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir ' s silver medal finish at the Olympics? United States won gold in ice dancing ! Russia won gold in the team event! And these idiots are trying to ram down our throats Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno took the rhetoric a few steps further (as she will)

It was Mahler’s “Symphony No. 5” that provided the duo their canvas at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. So many Canadian athletes seized glory in those home country Games. But it would be fair to say none captivated the country as did Virtue and Moir in that brilliant free dance program, which featured their memorable lift, “The Goose’’ — Moir gliding sideways in a crouched spread-eagle while Virtue balanced on one knee on his back, arms outstretched, then spilled forward into his arms.

The crowd went wild, as they say.

First North Americans and youngest ever Olympic champions in ice dance. Just a couple of kids: Moir the wise-ass, quick with a quip, Virtue often the eye-rolling straight man, Cher to his Sonny. And Virtue did it only months removed from a second bout of shin surgery, during which Moir shadow-trained alone, holding nothingness in his arms.

They got even better, more can’t-do-that defiant in their exploration of ice dancing’s possibilities, melding athleticism to aestheticism.

In the unusual position of sharing a coach in Marina Zoueva with their American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White — training stablemates for years in Canton, Mich. — the Canadians came silver-second to the U.S. team four years later in Sochi. Many were dismayed and disbelieving. There was talk of conspiracy, that Zoueva had deliberately focused on bringing a first-ever gold to the Americans, at the expense of the ignored Canadians. “We sometimes felt like she wasn’t in our corner,” Moir would say at a press conference afterwards.

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In any event, it will be forever debated. But there was gold in that silver lining because Moir and Virtue — after splitting from Zoueva and taking a couple of competitive seasons off — reignited their passion for the sport. (Alas, a platonic passion for each other.) Had the couple won a second consecutive Olympic gold medal, they likely would have retired then. Instead, they girded their comeback loins.

Along the way, maturing as skaters and people, their programs became increasingly sensual. This was the Scott and Tessa of “Carmen,” a steamy routine that could have been choreographed by Bob Fosse and was almost too hot for judges to handle — one particularly X-rated movement was ultimately ditched — earning them “just” a silver at the 2013 worlds In London, Ont., where both were born.

Still, four world championships (three senior, one junior), five Olympic medals (including in the team event) and eight national titles.

They climaxed their competitive career with gold in Pyeongchang, overtaking the reigning world champions from France, unspooling a voluptuous “Moulin Rouge” — although, technically, their triumph arose from superior short program marks.

I remember all the programs, all the reinventions. The many lives of Tessa and Scott: from “Roxanne” to “Sympathy for the Devil,” from “The Seasons” to “Top Hat and Tails,” from “Funny Face” to “Hallelujah,” from Pink Floyd to Prince. And “Long Time Coming,” their tribute to Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip.

First partnered by Moir’s aunt when Scott was nine and Tessa was seven, they have achieved every ambition imagined and have nothing left to prove.

Canada was blessed to have them for so long, ice dancing into legend.

Rosie DiManno is a columnist based in Toronto covering sports and current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @rdimanno

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