Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir called it a day four years ago after failing to successfully defend their Vancouver gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but after two years away they decided they couldn’t give up the competition life.
The duo dazzled spectators with their ice dance performance to “Roaxanne” and “Come What May” — both from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack — with many hoping, and wishing, they were more than just skating partners.
“I don’t care what medal they win,” one person wrote on twitter, “They’re in love.”
Another said their passionate performance “melted all of the ice. Everyone is pregnant. We’re all Canadian now.”
Moir attributed the couple’s chemistry to the fact that they’ve been skating together since 1997.
“We’ve been through so much together, we’ve grown up together,” the 30-year-old Moir told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies.
“We’ve needed each other along the way and it is a unique relationship — we’re not quite sure how to describe it — but we’re sure thankful to have it.”
The Canadian pair started skating together when Virtue was seven and Moir was nine, according to the official Pyeongchang website.
They train for up to 35 hours a week together in Montreal, under coaches Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon and Romain Haguenauer.
“I love that people are connecting with our performances,” 28-year-old Virtue said.
“So many of our themes we are expressing are universal … we’ve had so much fun delving into the storylines of our programs and skating as Satine and Christian in ‘Moulin Rouge,’ sinking our teeth into the nuances of that music and the soundtrack,” added Virtue, referring to the musical’s key characters.
“The fact people are engaged is really lovely, we appreciate it.”
However, despite speculation — the couple have denied that they are romantically involved, instead calling their relationship a “business” one.
Sochi, retirement and PyeongChang
If Virtue and Moir capped an incredible return to form after coming out of retirement two years earlier, the pair admitted that they weren’t convinced they’d walk away on top.
“We were terrified this morning,” Virtue said after the performance.
“But (we were) confident in our training and confident in the team behind us who have prepared us so well for this moment. So we trusted ourselves and we needed to believe in that program so it felt so good to really execute that in the moment.”
‘We were surprised by how much we missed it’
When asked if the pair truly meant it when they announced they were retiring following a disappointing, for them, silver place finish at Sochi in 2014, Virtue confirmed they were in fact ready to step away.
“We knew we needed a break for sure. But we were surprised by how much we missed it — we missed the structure of training, the regimented schedule, we missed waking up with a purpose and testing our capabilities.
“That was really the driving force behind our come back.”
Moir added: “We can honestly say these two years have been probably the most enjoyable of our career.”
Now, they’re the most successful Olympic ice dance pair of all time — with five medals. No other figure skater in history has won more than four.
Another Winter Olympics?
Despite coming out of retirement for this year’s games, interestingly the pair haven’t ruled out making it to the Beijing Olympics in four years time.
But for now, they say, they’ll have some “quiet moments” with friends and family — and a few celebratory bubbles.
“(We’ll) maybe a bit of champagne — a bottle of two,” Virtue said, with Moir in agreement: “Yeah, pop it open!”