Canadian darlings Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir punctuated their brilliant careers with a second Olympic gold medal in ice dance, becoming the most decorated figure skaters in Winter Games history on Tuesday afternoon at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
Virtue and Moir, who skated to gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and took silver four years ago in Sochi before a two-year hiatus from the sport, scored a record 206.07 points with a skate of emotive resonance, technical precision and smoldering intensity, edging the French pair of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron into silver by 0.79 points.
Papadakis and Cizeron, skating third to last to the Moonlight Sonata, overcame Monday’s unfortunate wardrobe malfunction and broke their own world record for a free dance with 123.35 points, meaning their Canadian rivals and training partners would require a personal-best score in order to top the podium. They came through in a big way with their free dance, set to a medley from Moulin Rouge, to win their third Olympic gold medal and record fifth medal overall.
“I am thrilled with this competition,” Virtue said afterward. “That performance was really special and truly memorable. The gold medal is the cherry on the cake.
“We are so grateful to our team for having prepared us for this. We are taking in every single moment.”
Added Moir: “If it is the end we are extremely pleased with that. We’ll probably make an announcement in the coming days, but for us we just want to enjoy this right now and let the dust kind of settle and figure out what’s next.”
Cizeron said he was pleased with the pair’s performance even if they missed out on gold. “I was just glad that we did the best we can. I didn’t know if it would be enough to beat Tessa and Scott, but we have nothing to regret,” he said. “It did not give us first place, but we are extremely pleased with the performance, the emotions and these moments on the ice.”
Maia and Alex Shibutani, who helped the United States to a bronze medal in last week’s team event, came through with one of their best skates of the season to Coldplay’s Paradise to capture an individual bronze, becoming only the second brother-sister team to win an ice dance medal after Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, who won silver at the 1992 Albertville Games. Their combined score of 192.59 was just enough to nudge American team-mates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, whose late miscue when Donohue put both hands down on a knee spin proved costly, off the podium.