Virtue and Moir sound ready to commit to Sochi

NICE, France — The Canadian Press

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada perform during their Ice Dance Free Dance at the ISU 2012 World Figure Skating Championships in Nice, southern France, Thursday, March 29, 2012. (Francois Mori/Associated Press)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have yet to give a definitive yes to competing at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

But a day after winning their second world title and reclaiming their spot on top of the ice dancing world, the Canadians certainly sounded more positive than ever Friday. Sochi, it seems, is virtually a given for the defending Olympic champions.

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“Every year we say we're not going to make an emotional decision, because after worlds you kind of have this high and your'e really excited,” Moir said. “I felt even moreso this year. . . To be able to train like we were young teenagers again, it really has given us life and made it a lot easier to look forward to having a couple more years of really enjoying yourself.”

Virtue, from London, Ont., and Moir, from Ilderton, Ont., roared to gold at the Palais des Expositions in their first solid season of training since 2008. They had to settle for silver last year in Moscow after missing almost the entire season while Virtue recovered from a second surgery to alleviate the chronic pain caused by compartment syndrome.

Now when the two talk about the Sochi Games, it's no longer if, but when.

“I was reflecting on that as well, hearing ourselves say it in interviews,” Virtue said. “It kind of catches me off-guard even when the two of us talk about it.

“But I think because we're so excited about how our training has been going, it's really hard not to go there. We have talked about it, I think it's become sort of the plan. With the way we're feeling and the way things went this year, I think we're definitely looking forward to another season.”

The 22-year-old Virtue and Moir, 24, could actually claim two more medals in Sochi, as the 2014 Games will mark the debut of the team event.

“It's really exciting. Any chance we have to skate for another Olympic medal, it's amazing,” Virtue said.

“Step on Olympic ice, be in an Olympic venue, we'll take it. Add three more events, we'll be there for all of them,” Moir said, laughing.

The team event, which will be held before the individual competitions, features a male and female singles skater, plus a pairs and an ice dance team from each country.

Virtue and Moir weren't sold on the idea of skating the team event first, but with some convincing from their coach Marina Zueva, have slowly been warming up to it.

“Marina's perspective was that having the team event first would be a great chance for us to get out and feel the Olympic energy, feel the vibe ... almost like a warm-up before the individual competition,” Virtue said.

“Any time there is an Olympic medal on the line, I'm pretty competitive,” Moir added. “I know that I won't be able to sleep at night knowing it was us that lost the gold for Canada. So we're going to do everything we can to give the Canadians the best opportunity to win.”

The Canadians celebrated into the morning hours Saturday with a couple dozen friends and family members. They'll compete once more this season, in the World Team Trophy next month in Japan. Then they'll head back to the drawing board to develop their programs for next season.

The two have skated to everything from Pink Floyd to George Gershwin to their classical Olympic gold-medal performance to Gustav Mahler. What's next?

“That's an interesting challenge for us, I don't know, I think we're kind of struggling with that to be honest right now,” Moir said.

They skated their free dance Friday night to Gershwin's “Funny Face,” Virtue in a glamorous red dress as Audrey Hepburn and Moir in white shirt and red tie as Fred Astaire.

“This year it was an idea Tessa has been bringing to the table for about five years and finally Marina said yes. It's different every year. Hopefully Tessa has some ideas up her sleeve for this year,” Moir said.

“Your turn,” Virtue said.

To which Moir replied, laughing, “Pink Floyd again.”

Virtue and Moir also won the world title in 2010, a month after their Olympic victory in Vancouver. They won silver in 2008 and bronze in 2009.

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