Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s career highlights
Their competitive figure skating career lasted 22 years — more than two decades in which they displayed passion, emotion, talent, and perfection.
Tessa and Scott skated in the same club from a very young age — Tessa at age 6, Scott at age 3. But like most young figure skaters, they were individuals at first. When she was 7 and he was 9, they started their career together — a move we can all thank his aunt Carol for suggesting.
In 1998, they participated in their first competition together. In January 1999, they earned their first victory in a provincial competition in Woodstock, Ontario.
Things started to escalate from there.
From Junior Standouts to Rising Senior Stars
In 2001, Tessa and Scott became Canadian ice dance champions at the pre-novice level. Three years later, they were the junior national champions. Two years after that, in 2006, they became the first Canadians to ever win a junior world title in ice dance.
In just their second season competing at the senior level internationally, they won silver at the 2008 ISU World Championships. They followed up with a great show of fortitude. After missing the first half of the 2008-09 season while Tessa recovered from surgery to alleviate chronic exertional compartment syndrome, they came back to win a second straight world championship medal.
Vancouver 2010: Golden Olympic Debut
For their first Olympic Games, where they arrived as gold medal hopefuls (and at home, on top of that!), Tessa and Scott did not disappoint. Not only did they make it to the podium, they stood on top of it. It was a historic moment. They were the first North American duo — and the youngest, at ages 20 and 22 — to win Olympic gold in ice dance. It was a welcome breakthrough after Europeans had dominated the discipline since its introduction to the Olympic program in 1976.
This victory was all the more impressive since Tessa was still struggling with pain in her legs, which made walking, even for a short distance, difficult. The duo began their Olympic competition with a second place finish in the compulsory dance, but brought the house down with their Flamenco-inspired original dance before enchanting everyone with their free dance to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.
The World Titles
One month after their first Olympic Games, Tessa and Scott won their first world title. They then got their hands on two more world championship gold medals in 2012 and in 2017 (in their comeback season; more on that below). Their victory at the latter allowed them to wrap up an undefeated season.
Sochi 2014… Then a Break
Tessa and Scott went to Sochi 2014 as the reigning Olympic champions. Unfortunately, they were defeated by Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White in their quest for gold. However, they could boast of a double silver, also being part of Canada’s second place finish in the new team event.
After their performance, Scott went to kiss the Olympic rings as a farewell. They did not announce a retirement, though, only that they would not be competing the following season. It ended up being a two-season hiatus.
Tessa and Scott announced in February 2016 that they were coming back to competitive ice, with two years to go to PyeongChang 2018 where they had another Olympic gold medal in their sights. The duo revealed they would train full time in Montreal, with coaches Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon who had already been a great source of support.
Tessa and Scott produced one of their best seasons in 2016-17, setting new personal and world records and accumulating titles — including their first ever gold at the Grand Prix Final. They won the World Figure Skating Championships for the third time.
The Flag Bearers
Tessa and Scott were named Team Canada’s flag bearers for the PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony. This was the first time Canada had two flag bearers at the Ceremony and they rose amazingly to the challenge.
The duo were recognized for their role in advancing ice dance both technically and artistically. They had arrived on the senior international scene just as figure skating’s scoring system changed and quickly became known for their intricate footwork and innovative lifts as they rocketed up the world rankings.
PyeongChang 2018: The Swan Song
We still aren’t tired of watching their Moulin Rouge free dance, how about you? This program, an instant classic, will always have a place in figure skating history. Before they even hit the ice, the whole world knew it was their last Olympic performance, which made it all the more exciting.
Tessa and Scott had already helped Canada win gold in the team event. But the ice dance competition kept us on the edge of our seats. After a fabulous free skate by their French training mates Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, Tessa and Scott would have to be absolutely perfect to win another gold. Of course, you know what happened next. They lit up the arena, made everyone believe the story they wanted to tell, and brought new fans to figure skating the world over.
This victory allowed them to become the most decorated figure skaters Olympic history with five medals.
On December 1, 2018, Tessa and Scott were inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame which celebrates outstanding achievement in five areas: arts and entertainment, business and entrepreneurship, philanthropy and humanities, science and technology, sports and athletics.
Members of the public can nominate Canadians for induction who have made an impact on Canadian heritage, have at least 10 years experience in their field with an established body of work, and represent the essence of what it means to be Canadian. Tessa and Scott more than fit the criteria.
In 2020, they were named Members of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour, by the Governor General. The official declaration read:
Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue have brought ice dancing to unprecedented heights. The most-decorated team in figure skating’s history, they have won more than 50 international medals, including three Olympic gold medals, and were the youngest ice dancers to stand atop the Olympic podium. They have emboldened tomorrow’s figure skaters through their displays of elegant strength and chemistry, and by promoting inclusivity in sport as proud supporters of Special Olympics Canada. Undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with as partners, they also support their communities as individuals.
In 2023, they were inducted to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, joining the pantheon of great Canadian athletes honoured with the Order of Sport.
On September 17, 2019, Tessa and Scott announced their retirement on social media with a personal and emotional video showing their career highlights. If this retirement was widely anticipated by the fans and the sports world, it still represented the end of an era for Canadian — and international — figure skating.
Scott hasn’t left the ice behind completely. He’s the head coach and managing director of the Ice Academy of Montreal’s satellite school in London, Ontario. You’ll now see him providing guidance and support by the side of the boards and in the kiss and cry. Tessa has moved into the corporate world, becoming an executive advisor at Deloitte after completing an MBA at the Smith School of Business and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.