Who are Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir?
Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are the ice dance gold medalists from the 2010 Olympics. They won two silver medals in 2014, from the ice dance competition and the inaugural team event. After a competitive break that lasted two years, they returned to competition for the 2016-17 with their eyes on PyeongChang.
Figure skating beginnings
Virtue was born in London, Ontario, Canada on May 17, 1989. She began taking skating lessons at age 6 in order to avoid embarrassment when her classmates took field trips to the rink.
Moir was born on September 2, 1987 in London, Ontario, Canada. He started skating at age 4, joining his skating family: His mother coached figure skating, his dad played hockey and his brothers skated, too.
They teamed up in 1997 skating together when she was 7 and he was 9 after his aunt, who was coaching them at the time, matched them up. They will celebrate their 20th anniversary of skating together in October 2017.
Major competitions/ medals
Virtue and Moir were the first North Americans to win ice dance Olympic gold, doing so on home ice at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
The couple earned two silver medals at the Sochi Olympics: a silver for Team Canada in the inaugural team event, plus another in the ice dance competition.
They own three world championship titles: 2010, 2012 and 2017.
Competitive break and return
The couple put their competitive careers on hold after the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but continued performing in shows and on tour.
Virtue and Moir trained for the 2010 Olympics and 2014 Olympics under Marina Zoueva in Canton, Michigan. They worked alongside their rivals, the U.S.’ Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the 2014 gold medalists.
When they returned for the 2016-17 season, they moved their base to Montreal, Canada, with Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. There, they shared ice with 2015 and 2016 world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France and three-time U.S. bronze medalists Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, who had also recently moved to Montreal.
During their comeback, they went undefeated and capped the season with their third world title.
In 2006, they became world junior champions and soon graduated to the senior level. Leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, they earned silver (2008) and bronze medals (2009) at the world championships.
Before setting a new world record short dance score at the 2017 World Championships, Moir needed emergency stitching on his costume’s trouser leg. One of the seams has ripped during a practice session. But they weren’t rattled: Their new world record tallied 82.43 points.
In addition, they own the overall score record, totaling 197.22 points at the December 2016 Grand Prix Final.
They are also the youngest female and male ice dance gold medalists: Virtue was 20 years and 241 days old when she captured gold in Vancouver, while Moir was 22 years, 153 days old.
Virtue and Moir always hug before stepping out to skate. Virtue explained the ritual to media at the 2017 World Championships: “It’s something we’ve done for several years now really just to feel our timing together, find that synchronicity and get our breathing in unison. Just really to feel that connection and to emphasize the chemistry and togetherness that we hope to create on the ice.”
“I think a big part of our return has to do with our fresh perspective… Truly taking a step back and appreciating what a great ride that was, that is our advantage over some of these younger teams… We have to keep reminding each other because it’s easy to get wrapped up. As a competitor, the gold medal is the be all, end all. But at the same time, you need to remember, it’s a sport, it’s beautiful, and we do it because we love it. That’s probably our strongest attribute.” – Moir said after the 2017 Worlds short dance
They own three Olympic medals across two Olympic appearances: gold in 2010, plus two silvers in 2014.
Outside the rink
In 2008, Virtue had surgery to alleviate chronic pain in her legs stemming from compartment syndrome. The duo didn’t speak for two and a half months, and called it a communication problem between them. Through sports psychology and a type of couple’s counseling, they resolved their issues and learned new tools to improved communication. She had a similar surgery in 2011.
In October 2015, Virtue launched her own jewelry line in partnership with Canadian brand Hillberg and Berk. She likes dancing, traveling, and golf. At age 9, she turned down an opportunity to join the national ballet.
Moir calls himself a “wanna-be hockey player.” He also enjoys golf and the outdoors, especially his backyard at home.
After the 2010 Olympics, the team released a book, titled “Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold.”
In the lead-up to the 2014 Olympics, Canadian television aired “Tessa & Scott,” a seven-part all-access reality show docuseries detailing their everyday life.