Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir brought the house down on Monday when they skated to a first ice dance Olympic gold for Canada.
Virtue, 20, and Moir, 22, took the gold with 221.57 points from the compulsory dance, original dance and free dance as flowers, teddy bears and the famous Olympic red mittens rained onto the ice for their performance to Gustav Mahler’s Symphony number 5 at the Pacific Coliseum.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White earned silver for the United States with 215.74 points.
World champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin of Russia had to settle for bronze with 207.64 points as the top three remained unchanged in the free programme.
“This is the best feeling in the world. We believed and dreamed this moment for so long,” Moir told CTV. “We knew we could do it.” Virtue said: “We are so proud to lay down three skates like this.” Virtue and Moir are the first Canadian and North American pair to win the ice dance.
Competing after Davis and White but before the Russians midway through the final five-team flight, Virtue skated in a white dress and Moir in black and white to the solemn music.
The nailed everything from lifts to steps and were awarded with 110.42 points from the free dance as the Pacific Coliseum crowd went berserk.
They had an agonizing wait in the kiss and cry area until Domnina and Shabalin had skated as the last pair. However, the Russian faced an almost impossible task and did miss the spark to move to the top.
Muir played a little trick on Virtue when he said “we are second,” but he quickly added “no, just joking” as they hugged each other in delight about the gold and then paraded around the ice with the Canadian flag after the medal ceremony.
“I wasn’t paying attention to the scores,” said Virtue. “I was ok with that for a second but gold is better.” Davis and White skated great as well to The Phantom of the Opera.
They had one point deducted for a too long lift, but even the additional point would not have given them gold.
“It has been a wonderful experience coming to the Olympics and to cap it off with a silver is so amazing,” said Davis.
Coming off pre-Olympic injury problems and a controversy around their aboriginal dance in the original programme, Domnina and Shabalin had to accept bronze.
“We are happy about our medal but of course we had hoped for more. We did everything that we could do,” said Domnina.
The outcome means that Russia will most likely end up without an Olympic gold in figure skating for the first time in half a century since the Soviets came up empty-handed 1960 in Squaw Valley.