Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir

Tessa Jane McCormick Virtue, CM, figure skater (born 17 May 1989 in London, ON) and Scott Patrick Moir, CM, figure skater (born 2 September 1987 in London, ON). Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir are the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history, with five medals. They were the first North Americans to win the Olympic gold medal for ice dance, at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. At the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, 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. 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. They are both Members of the Order of Canada and have been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir Win Gold

Early Career

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

Initially, Virtue and Moir skated individually at the same club. They 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 & 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 for additional training with coach Paul MacIntosh and his assistant, Suzanne Killing. They competed in the provincial finals in Woodstock, Ontario, in January 1999, where they celebrated their first of many victories together.

Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue

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, Alberta, and competed in the Junior Worlds in the Hague. Shortly after, Virtue & 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. In 2006, they 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. They 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. 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, so 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 the mark had been awarded to any ice dancers in competition.

The next year, Virtue & Moir won the 2010 Canadian championship in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, ice dancers

2010 Olympic Winter Games

All eyes were on Virtue & Moir when they competed in the free dance at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver 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 & 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 score of the pair's career. Virtue & Moir became the first North Americans and youngest skaters to win the Olympic gold medal in ice dance.

They 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. 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 & 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 & Moir’s biggest rivals leading into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Sochi 2014

2014 Olympic Winter Games

Virtue & Moir handily won the 2014 National Skating Championships. The following month, they helped the Canadian figure skating team win a silver medal in the new team event at the Sochi Olympic Winter 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.

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 & Moir did not compete in the 2014 world championship.

Return to Competition

Virtue & Moir returned to competition for the 2016–17 season, under new coaches Patrice Lauzon and Marie-France Dubreuil of Montreal. The pair dominated competition. They broke personal and world records and won 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 & Moir winning the Autumn Classic International in Montreal 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. 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.

Virtue & 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.

Virtue & 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 & 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.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, PyeongChang 2018


On 17 September 2019, Virtue, 30, and Moir, 32, announced in a video that they were retiring from competition. “After 22 years, it feels like the right time to step away from the sport,” Virtue said. “This is so personal and emotional for both of us. We're just so grateful. How lucky are we really that we got to share all of this together and with all of you?”

In a March 2020 interview with Hello! magazine, Virtue said, “I've always known that I wanted to be in business. I have a very fierce entrepreneurial spirit.” She enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University while also serving as a spokesperson for such brands as Nivea, Batiste, Buick and Adidas. In 2021, she began working for NBD Consulting, a global management consulting firm. In early January 2023, it was announced that Virtue was engaged to her boyfriend of three years, Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Morgan Reilly.

Following his retirement, Moir began working as a coach. In 2020, he coached and/or helped develop choreography for Canadian ice dance team Laurence Fournier Beaudry & Nikolaj Sørensen and American ice dance team Madison Hubbell & Zach Donohue, as well as Canadian singles skater Nicolas Nadeau. “You just want to win the Olympics when you talk to him,” Hubbell said of Moir. “He’s very motivational.” In early 2021, Moir became the head coach and managing director at the London, Ontario, campus of the Ice Academy of Montreal (I.AM). In this role, he has coached American ice dance team Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko and Canadian ice dance team Haley Sales & Nikolas Wamsteeker, among others.

Other Activities

In October 2010, House of Anansi Press published Virtue & Moir’s autobiography, Tessa & Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold, co-written with Steve Milton. A second edition, which covers their achievements between 2010 and 2018, was published in October 2018.

In 2014, Virtue & Moir were featured in W Network’s Tessa and Scott documentary TV series. They 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. They also performed with Fiesta on Ice in 2009, Shall We Dance on Ice in 2010, and All That Skate in 2010 and 2018. They also co-produced and performed in their own skating show, The Thank You Canada Tour. It toured 30 Canadian cities and featured performances by Patrick Chan, Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford, Kaetlyn Osmond, Elvis Stojko and others. They followed that with the 31-city Rock the Rink tour in 2019, which they also produced.

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)

(See also In Conversation with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir; Canadian Gold Medal Winners at Olympic Winter Games; Figure Skating.)

Honours and Awards

Further Reading

External Links