Tessa and Scott can't be replaced. But…
There's a promising young duo that could follow the iconic ice dancers
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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are officially retiring
If you thought they already had, well, you're not exactly wrong. The iconic Canadian figure skating duo hasn't competed since the 2018 Winter Olympics, where they won their second ice dance gold medal and also helped Canada take gold in the team event. But they've been performing in arena shows and never actually retired — until last night.
They didn't use the word "retire" — but that's what they're doing. In a video posted on both their Twitter accounts, Virtue and Moir announced they're moving on from figure skating. Tessa is 30 and Scott 32, so their partnership goes back to when they were kids. But "it feels like the right time to step away from the sport," Virtue said. Read more about the announcement and watch their charming video here.
They're still good friends, but they've been drifting toward separate lives since they stopped competing. Moir is now engaged to a woman he skated with way back before teaming up with Virtue. That ended some fans' hopes (dreams?) that Tessa and Scott would end up together someday, even though they've never been romantically involved. Virtue recently joked on Twitter that she's "currently looking for a +1 for an upcoming wedding." Of the two, she's been more successful at cashing in on the pair's on-ice success. She's made solo endorsement deals with clothing, furniture and cosmetics brands and appeared on some Canadian TV shows. For more on what Tessa is up to these days, listen to her appearance on a recent edition of the Players' Own Voice podcast.
You still have a chance to see Tessa and Scott skate. They're taking part in one last tour: the cross-country Rock the Rink, which starts Oct. 5 in Abbotsford, B.C., and ends Nov. 23 in St. John's. You can see the rest of the tour dates here.
They'll go down as two of Canada's greatest Olympic athletes of all time. In addition to those three gold medals, Tessa and Scott (as their fans always call them) also won silvers in ice dance and the team event in 2014. They also captured three world titles. But it's their two Olympic ice dance victories — eight years apart — that will be remembered best. The first came in 2010 in Vancouver, where they performed brilliantly under pressure in front of a home crowd to hold off American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
The U.S. duo got the better of them in 2014, and Virtue and Moir took a two-season break from the sport. They returned for 2016-17 and didn't miss a beat, capping an undefeated season with their final world title. And they went out in style at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, where they were easily the biggest stars on the entire Canadian team. In their final competitive performance, they produced another breathtaking free skate under immense pressure to just barely top another tough rival — France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron. As if that wasn't enough, Moir then gave us one of the most endearing moments of the Games by playing the quintessential hockey fan at the women's gold-medal game between Canada and the U.S.
Tessa and Scott are irreplaceable. But… there's a promising young Canadian ice dance team on the horizon. Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha won gold at the world junior championships last season. They're only the second Canadian duo to do that — after, you guessed it, Virtue and Moir. Lajoie, 18, and Lagha, 20, have since moved up to the senior level. We'll see how they do against top-level competition at their two Grand Prix events: Skate Canada in Kelowna, B.C., in late October, and the Rostelecom Cup in Moscow in mid-November. It can take many years for an ice dance team to reach its full potential, but CBC Sports figure skating analyst Pj Kwong says Lajoie and Lagha have the three most important ingredients for greatness — skill, chemistry and a fresh look and feel. "And because they're so young, they have the luxury of time to develop," she says. But she also cautions to not put too much pressure on them because "there will never be another Tessa and Scott." Read Pj's excellent thoughts on Virtue and Moir here.
Dustin Byfuglien might not be coming back. The Winnipeg Jets insisted it was no big deal when they gave their star defenceman a leave of absence last week. But TSN's Bob McKenzie reports that Byfuglien is "using the time to ponder his NHL future" — and retirement isn't out of the question. McKenzie also reports there's no timetable for a decision, so this could take awhile. Byfuglien, who's 34, missed most of the second half of last season due to injury but returned for the playoffs. He has two years left on a contract that pays him $8 million US this season and $6 million next, but he's already pocketed about $60 million in his career. Read more about the latest on Byfuglien here.
Byfuglien's uncertain future is just one of several problems for the Jets. They were a Stanley Cup contender before unravelling over the second half of last season and losing in the first round of the playoffs to eventual champ St. Louis. Since then, unhappy Jacob Trouba was traded to the Rangers and two other important defenceman — Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot — followed him out the door in free agency. So losing Big Buff could be a crushing blow to an already thin blue-line. Meanwhile, Winnipeg still hasn't re-signed two of its young stars: restricted free agents Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor. Laine is currently working out with a team in Switzerland and told a Finnish reporter that he wants the Jets to give with better linemates.
Canada's best-known wrestler got upset at the world championships, but another Canadian guaranteed herself a medal. Reigning Olympic champ Erica Wiebe lost in the quarter-finals of the women's 76-kg division, eliminating her from medal contention. Linda Morais won her 59-kg semifinal to advance to tomorrow's gold-medal match. Even if she loses that, she'll get a silver. Morais was a bronze medallist at the 2016 world championships. Read more about today's results for Canadian wrestlers here.
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