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Published: Wednesday, 2/24/2010

Canadian duo celebrate their ‘Stanley Cup'

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won North America's first gold medal in ice dancing Monday night. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada won North America's first gold medal in ice dancing Monday night.
IVAN SEKRETAREV / AP Enlarge

VANCOUVER — Scott Moir would have gone to sleep on the Olympic rings in the middle of the Pacific Coliseum ice if they'd let him, clutching his gold medal.

That being slightly unreasonable, even for an Olympic champion, he settled for getting on his knees, kissing the five rings and lingering as long as he could in a nearly deserted arena.

Finally, partner Tessa Virtue joined him for a few pictures with their coaches and even some volunteers. Why not? Their ice dance gold Monday night belonged to all of Canada, too.

“This is our Stanley Cup,” said Moir, a huge hockey fan but, at this moment, a bigger hero than Sidney Crosby in his nation.

“We knew it was in us. But to get out there on the Olympic ice and to perform and to execute like that, it's a feeling that I've never had.”

Nor was it a feeling any North American couple has had. Since ice dance was introduced in the Olympics in 1976, Russian or Soviet couples had won all but two golds, with the others going to Britain and France.

But there was no arguing that Virtue and Moir were the best in Vancouver.

“It's been 13 years of skating together. What a journey,” she said. “It's been so many ups and downs, so many sacrifices. We've grown up together. We're best friends. It's just so amazing to share this together.”

And to share the podium with their training partners and friends from Detroit, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Davis and White won the second consecutive Olympic silver for the United States in the event; Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto were runners-up in Turin, and finished fourth Monday night.

Russia's Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, the world champs, took the bronze.

Still, the Russians have been oh-for-gold in pairs, men, and dance, events they're used to dominating, and could very well go home without winning at least one skating event for the first time since 1960.

“North America has really come into its own in terms of ice dance,” Davis said. “This Olympics is a little bit of a turning point again. It's really exciting to be a part of it.”

Virtue and Moir won by 5.83 points, a mammoth margin.

After their victory lap, Moir did his own version of the Lambeau Leap. He and Virtue then sprinted back onto the ice, holding up the Canadian flag.

“Right now, Vancouver is our favorite place to be,” Virtue said. “It's been the perfect games.”




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