The roar of the crowd as the music stopped was all you needed to tell that the home favourites had just had the skate of their lives.
Canadian dance pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir finished Sunday night’s original dance in top spot, after earning 68.41, vaulting themselves over the Russian pair of Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, who were in first place after the compulsory dance.
Virtue and Moir, from southwestern Ontario, will look to become the first Canadian pair to claim gold in ice dance when they skate in the free dance Monday night.
“We were right in the moment, thinking through every step,” Virtue told CTV following the skate. “We were very focused coming in and it was quite relaxed, actually.”
Domnina and Shabalin fell from first to third place after performing their controversial aboriginal dance with themed costumes and ceremonial dancing.
The Russian pair debuted the dance at the Russian Championships and were criticized by Australian aboriginals about the use of their “cultural objects and icons.”
After the compulsory dance, the pair draped themselves in authentic Canadian aboriginal blankets, given as a gift from Four Host First Nations representatives, who met with Domnina and Shabalin prior to the start of the games.
“They were so friendly and so kind to us,” Shabalin told the Toronto Star. “We hope we will become friends, so that’s why we wear it (the blanket) today.”
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White moved into second place after the original dance from third with a solid performance.
Canadians Vanessa Crone and Paul Poirier dropped to 17th place after Sunday’s dance.