Canadian Virtue/Moir win ice dance Olympic gold

13:30, February 23, 2010      

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Home favorites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir lit up the scoreboard in a way no Canadian ever has, beating strong contenders from the United States and Russia to claim the host country's first Olympic ice dancing title here Monday evening.


Tessa Virtue(Below)/Scott Moir of Canada perform during the ice dancing free dance of figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, Feb. 22, 2010. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir won the gold medal with a total score of 221.57 points. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

The silver medalists at the 2008 world championships continued their strong run in Sunday's original dance, setting personal best records of 110.42 points in free dance and 221.57 overall to lift the trophy.

At the world level, only Olympic champions Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov of Russia have recorded a higher dance score of 227.81 points in winning the 2005 world championships in Moscow.

The historical victory marked Virtue the youngest ice dancing winner on the Winter Games' podium, and marked the 20-year-old and her partner the first ever North American couple to be crowned since ice dancing became an Olympic event in 1976.

"It has been the perfect Games," said an excited Virtue, while Moir said "it's amazing" for three times at the mixed zone.


Tessa Virtue(Below)/Scott Moir of Canada perform during the ice dancing free dance of figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, Feb. 22, 2010. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir won the gold medal with a total score of 221.57 points. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

"It's so amazing. We're so well trained. We were so ready. But to go out there and actually do it. It feels amazing," said Moir. "To have that moment with the home crowd and with each other, and to have all that hard work pay off. It's amazing."

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States, also making debut at the Winter Olympic Games like Virtue and Moir, danced to Phantom of the Opera to score 107.19 points and 215.74 in total to pocket the silver medal.

Reigning world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia settled for a bronze on 207.65 points after skating the last and earned 101.04 in free dance for a level two serpentine step sequence.

It has been the only third time that Russia failed to step on the top podium of Olympic ice dancing as Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat took the 2002 championship for France at Salt Lake City and the 1984 gold medal of the event went to Britain's Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.


Tessa Virtue(L)/Scott Moir of Canada react during the victory ceremony for the ice dancing of figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, Feb. 22, 2010. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir won the gold medal with a total score of 221.57 points. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

Turin silver medalists and the 2009 runners-up Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto of the United States kept the fourth position with 203.07 points after receiving a level two for their twizzles to score 99.74 in free dance.

Chinese duo Huang Xintong and Zheng Xun finished on the 19th place out of 23 pairs, while former American Cathy Reed and Chris Reed, representing Japan at the Vancouver Olympics, dropped one place lower to the 17th.

Virtue and Moir gave an amazing performance of dance to Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 at a packed Pacific Coliseum, making the crowd all on feed at the stands.

Both of the Canadian skaters were so happy they completed the routine in such a flawless way.

"We couldn't have asked for a better week for us here in Vancouver. It's been quite a journey - a bit rocky," said Virtue.

"It's just perfect. You couldn't write up a better story for the two of us," added Moir.

Not coming out to compete at the senior level until the 2007-2008 season, Virtue and Moir teamed up in 1997 when Virtue was seven and Moir aged nine.


Tessa Virtue(L)/Scott Moir of Canada perform during the ice dancing free dance of figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada, Feb. 22, 2010. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir won the gold medal with a total score of 221.57 points. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

Training individually under Moir's aunt, who suggested they would make good dance partners and paired them together, Virtue and Moir came out the first Canadain world junior champions in 2006 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

They claimed their first senior Canadian title as well as that of the Four Continents Championships in the 2007 and 2008 season before finishing the runners-up at the 2008 worlds.

Halted by Virtue's shins injury at the beginning of the next season, the Canadian hopeful missed the 2008 Grand Prix Series until December, 2008 when the duo defended their Canadian title.

Coached by Igor Shpilband, Marina Zueva and Johnny Johns with the choreography by Zueva and Shpilband, Virtue and Moir won a bronze at the 2009 worlds and scored their previous personal best, also the Canadian records, of 107.82 points for the free dance alone and 221.26 in total last month at the Canadian figure skating championships.

Source: Xinhua
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