Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir begin their mission for Olympic gold in ice dance with perfect stride as they finished second in the compulsory dance at the Vancouver Olympic Games on Friday night.
Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., scored a personal best 42.74 points to the Tango Romantica, the original dance drawn from the competition.
They are only one point back of the reigning world champions Dominina Oksana and Maxim Shabalin of Russia who lead all teams with a score of 43.76.
“We knew that’s where we wanted to be,” an excited Moir told the Canadian Press. “We’re just going to go out and have it again.”
Skating last among 23 pairs at the Pacific Coliseum, Virtue and Moir are likely to be the last duo to ever skate to the compulsory dance as it is likely being discontinued after these Olympics.
The International Skating Union is considering reducing ice dance to only two segments to be in unison with the men’s, women’s, and pair’s formats.
Even though the Ontario natives may have performed the last ever compulsory dance with sheer elegance and grace, the national champions admitted they were happy to see the routine go.
“What an honour though,” said Virtue. “It’s a dance we love to skate and I think it’s great to leave it on that note.”
Behind the Canadian and Russian pairs is the U.S duo of Meryl Davis and Charlie White who performed a personal best of 41.47 to place in third.
Their American rivals, Torino games silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto, are still in contention as they currently are in fourth with 40.83 points.
This has been the first major competition for France’s Isabelle Delobel and Oliver Schoenfelder, as the former gave birth to a son in October and the latter was cursed with injury.
Unfortunately, their hiatus from the sport showed, as the 2008 World Champions scored 37.99 points to place them in sixth after the compulsory.
Olympic rookies Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier earned a season-best 31.14 points and are in 15th place.
The compulsory dance is the first of three ice dance segments as all the couples are required to skate the same standardized steps to pre-determined music.
Next up, Virtue and Moir will skate a flamenco on Sunday for their original dance.