GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were the last couple to leave the ice after their warm-up early Tuesday, the Canadian ice dancers soaking in every second before their final Olympic performance. They sure made it a memorable one.
After watching their training partners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron break the world record with a flawless free skate, Virtue and Moir took the ice one last time with a dazzling, dramatic interpretation of “Moulin Rouge.” Every movement was synchronized, every element raw and emotional, and the only question left at the end was whether it would be enough.
They wound up with a personal-best 122.40 points for a record 206.07 total, pushing them past their French rivals’ score of 205.28 and making them the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history.
It was the second gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games for Virtue and Moir, who were instrumental in helping Canada win the team event. It was also their third gold overall after winning their home Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, and their fifth medal overall after two silvers at the Sochi Games four years ago.
They retired for two years after that disappointment.
“It definitely feels like we are close to the end of our career, and we are very proud of this,” Moir said. “We came back to win the second gold medal, that was the goal.
“This was a very intense competition and we’re happy the way things turned out for us. We have the greatest respect for [the French team] and they skated so well, and they push us to be at our best.”
Their medal total broke a tie with Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko and Sweden’s Gillis Grafstrom for the most in Olympic figure skating.
“We were able to rely on our team and our coaches and training, and just go out there and savor it,” Virtue said.
American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani won the bronze medal with a near-flawless free skate that totaled 192.59 points, edging teammates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue by just under five points.
“This was the most incredible moment for us today,” Maia Shibutani said. “We did four performances on Olympic ice we can be so proud of, and we got two Olympic medals [including the team].”
The Americans assured themselves a medal when the “Shib Sibs” put on their best performance of the season. Their sharply choreographed show to “Paradise” by Coldplay made up the two-hundredths of a point they trailed Hubbell and Donohue after the short dance.
Papadakis and Cizeron, whose wardrobe malfunction in the short dance made them a trending topic worldwide, skating justs ahead of the winners, put up a score of 123.35 points to move into first place.