Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir

Tessa Virtue, figure skater (born 17 May 1989 in London, ON) and Scott Moir, figure skater (born 2 September 1987 in London, ON). Virtue and Moir are the most successful Canadian ice dance team of the early 21st century, and were the first North Americans to win the Olympic Gold Medal for ice dance, at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. At the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, they won silver in ice dance and in the team competition. They won gold in ice dance and in the team competition at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, becoming the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history. They have also won four world championships (three senior and one junior), three Four Continents championships, nine Canadian championships (eight senior and one junior) and multiple Grand Prix events, including a Grand Prix Final.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, 2017.

Early Career

Virtue, who was born in London, ON, was initially interested in pursuing ballet and modern dance, but began skating at an early age through the CanSkate lesson program. Moir, who was also born in London, ON and was raised in nearby Ilderton, ON, came from a skating family and was coached by his aunt, Carol Moir.

Initially, Virtue and Moir skated individually at the same club, but became more familiar with each other during the summer skate camps held at the Ilderton arena. Carol Moir was looking for a new partner for Scott, and noted that Virtue was the right size and skill level. The pair were soon skating together almost exclusively during group dance training sessions.

Virtue and Moir officially began competing as partners in 1998, when they entered a Western Ontario invitational competition. In the summer of 1998, the pair began travelling to Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, for additional training with coach Paul MacIntosh and his assistant, Suzanne Killing. They competed in the provincial finals in Woodstock, ON, in January 1999, where they celebrated their first of many victories together.

National and International Competition

By the end of the 2001–02 training year, the pair knew they needed to increase their training schedule and decided to move to Kitchener-Waterloo. Over the next few years they skated at home and abroad, competing as juniors in Skate Slovakia, Tomorrow's Champions, the North American Challenge, and the Croatia Cup. In 2004, the pair won first place at the Junior Nationals in Edmonton, AB, and competed in the Junior Worlds in The Hague. Shortly after, Virtue and Moir began training in Canton, Michigan, with Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband.

The pair continued to compete as juniors on the international stage in 2004 and 2005, and in 2006 became the first Canadian ice dancers to win the World Junior title. That year they also began competing in senior events, winning bronze at the Four Continents championships in 2006 and 2007.

In the summer of 2007, Virtue began to feel cramps and pain in her shins. Despite the pain, she and Moir continued to train, and competed in the senior category at national and international events. In 2008, they finished second at the world championships, and first at the Canadian and Four Continents championships. Later that year, however, Virtue tested positive for chronic exertional compartment syndrome and in October 2008, she had surgery on both of her shins to try to alleviate the pain.

When the pair regrouped in early 2009, Virtue was still in pain, and they could only practice small portions of their programs rather than full run-throughs. Despite this, they won first place at the Canadian nationals and the Trophée Eric Bompard, second at the Four Continents, and third at the Worlds. At Skate Canada that autumn, they received a perfect 10.0 component score, the first time this mark had been awarded to any ice dancers in competition.

The next year, Virtue and Moir won the 2010 Canadian championship in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir perform their free dance routine at the ISU Grand Prix Eric Bompard Trophy on November 19, 2011 at Palais-Omnisports de Bercy, Paris, France.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir Win Gold
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir during the medal ceremony on October 17, 2009 at Palais-Omnisports de Bercy, Paris, France.
Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue
Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue answer questions about the Olympic season at the winner's press conference of the ISU Grand Prix Eric Bompard, October 17, 2009 at Bercy Arena, Paris, France.
Medalists in ice dance
Pechalat/Bourzat (L), Virtue/Moir, Cappellinin/Lanotte during the medal ceremony of the ISU Grand Prix Eric Bompard Trophy on November 19, 2011 at Palais-Omnisports de Bercy, Paris, France.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir during the medal ceremony on October 17, 2009 at Palais-Omnisports de Bercy, Paris, France.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in pairs ice dance during the World championship of figure skating 2011 at the Palace of Megasport in Moscow.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in action during Gala concert of Olympic champions in figure skating in Luzhniki.

2010 Olympic Winter Games

All eyes were on Virtue and Moir when they competed in the free dance at the Pacific Coliseum on 22 February 2010. Due to pain in Virtue’s legs, the pair had not been able to complete a full practice run-through of their program. Nevertheless, Virtue and Moir were victorious. Their free dance program, which featured a challenging lift the pair developed called "The Goose," was awarded a score of 110.42 points, including four perfect tens, the highest of the pair's career. Virtue and Moir became the first North Americans and youngest skaters to win the Olympic gold medal in ice dance. The pair followed their Olympic victory by taking first place at the world championships that same year. They were also inducted into the London (ON) Sports Hall of Fame.

Competitions 2010–13

In October 2010, Virtue underwent surgery for the second time and as a result the pair had to withdraw from the 2011 Canadian Championships and Skate Canada. However, they soon began training again and took second place at the 2011 World Championships. Although the pain in Virtue’s calves and shins returned, she and her surgeon decided to forgo another surgery and instead try alternative methods, including an increase in Virtue’s off-ice work outs. This approach was successful, and she and Moir won gold at the Canadian, Four Continents, and World Figure Skating Championships in 2012.

In 2013, Virtue and Moir won their fifth Canadian (senior) championship and fifth Skate Canada International title, as well as their second Finlandia Trophy and fourth Trophée Bompard. They also placed second in the Four Continents competition, the world championships, and the Grand Prix Final, where they lost narrowly to their training partners, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who also trained under coach Marina Zoueva. The American pair were generally considered Virtue and Moir’s biggest rivals leading into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Sochi 2014
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir compete in the ice dance free dance figure skating finals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia (17 February 2014)

2014 Olympic Winter Games

Virtue and Moir handily won the 2014 National Skating Championships and the following month helped the Canadian figure skating team win a silver medal in the new team event at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. In the ice dance competition that followed, they performed a technically challenging and emotional short program and free dance, but lost to Davis and White, taking home a second Olympic silver medal.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Sochi 2014
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir receive their silver medals in figure skating ice dance at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia (18 February 2014)

The second-place finish was coloured by controversy about the coaching and judging. The French sports publication L’Équipe alleged that the US and Russian judges had conspired to ensure gold for Russia in the team event and gold for Americans Davis and White in the ice dance competition. In addition, coach Marina Zoueva’s apparent conflict of interest in coaching both the first- and second-place ice dancers provoked questions about whether she had displayed favouritism to the Americans (especially after she chose to march in the opening ceremony with the US team) and had devoted less coaching time to the Canadians.

Virtue and Moir did not compete in the 2014 world championship, but did tour with the ice show Stars on Ice, with which they had previously skated in 2012 and 2013. Also in 2014, they were featured in W Network’s Tessa and Scott TV documentary series.

Return to Competition

Virtue and Moir returned to competition for the 2016–17 season, under new coaches Patrice Lauzon and Marie-France Dubreuil of Montréal. The pair dominated competition, breaking personal and world records and winning the 2016 Skate Canada International, the 2016 NHK Trophy in Japan, and the Grand Prix Final in France. They also won the 2017 national championship, the 2017 Four Continents championship in South Korea and the 2017 world championship in Finland.

Olympic Champions, 2018

The 2017–18 season began on a high note, with Virtue and Moir winning the Autumn Classic International in Montréal in September 2017. The following month they took gold at the Canada Skate International in Regina, setting a new personal best and world record with 199.86 points, and in November they won the ice dancing competition at the 2017 NHK Trophy in Japan. The following month, they took silver at the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan.

Opening Ceremonies, PyeongChang 2018
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir lead Team Canada into the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Virtue and Moir were chosen as Canada’s flagbearers for the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. They delivered a thrilling performance in the team competition, winning both the short dance and free dance segments. Canada won the team event handily, with strong performances by pairs skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, and by Patrick Chan, Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, PyeongChang 2018
Olympic Champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir receive their gold medals for their gold medal performance in ice dance at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games on Tuesday, 20 February 2018.

Virtue and Moir thrilled fans in Canada and around the world during the main ice dance competition. They set a world record score in the short program (83.67), less than two points ahead of French rivals Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron. Papadakis and Cizeron in turn set a world record in the free dance (123.35 points), increasing the pressure on the Canadian pair. However, Virtue and Moir’s “Moulin Rouge” program was flawless, earning them 122.40 points and a close second in the free dance. Their combined score of 206.07 points (a world record in itself) gave them the gold medal. With five Olympic medals in total, they are the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history.

Career Highlights

Olympic Winter Games Ice dance: Gold (2010, 2018), Silver (2014)
Team competition: Gold (2018), Silver (2014)
World Championships, Senior Gold (2017, 2012, 2010)
Silver (2013, 2011, 2008)
Bronze (2009)
World Championships, Junior Gold (2006)
Silver (2005)
Four Continents Championships Gold (2017, 2012, 2008)
Silver (2013, 2009)
Bronze (2007, 2006)
Grand Prix Final Gold (2016)
Silver (2017, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009)
Grand Prix Events:
Skate Canada International
Trophee Bompard
NHK Trophy

Gold (2017, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2007)
Gold (2013, 2011, 2009, 2006)
Gold (2017, 2016)
National Championships, Senior Gold (2018, 2017, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008)
Silver (2007)
Bronze (2006)
National Championships, Junior Gold (2004)

Honours and Awards

London Sports Hall of Fame (2010)
Canada’s Walk of Fame (2018)

Further Reading

  • Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir, and Steve Milton. Tessa & Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold (2010).

External Links