They did it, but it was a nerve-shredding, nail-biting finale at the Winter Olympics. The Canadian ice dancers, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, won their second Olympic gold medal with a brilliant freestyle dance on Tuesday.
Skating last to the movie score of Moulin Rouge, the pair edged to the top of the podium by less than a point and broke the world record on their way.
Their overall score of 206.07 eclipsed the previous best, which had been set just moments before by the French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who finished on 205.28.
“We don’t know what the future holds quite yet, but it definitely feels like we’re getting close to the end of our career,” Moir told OBS, the official Olympics broadcaster.
“We’re just proud of our accomplishments at these Games. The goal was to win two golds but it’s a really intense competition. We have such respect, especially for Gabriella and Guillaume. We’re pretty happy with how things turned out, that’s for sure,” he added.
The Canadian pair, who won gold in Vancouver eight years ago, have dominated the event since they returned to competition after retiring following a silver medal at the Sochi Games four years ago. They also have a team silver from Sochi and a gold won at Pyeongchang last week.
“We felt the support of our teammates out there today – the Canadians in the crowd and Canadian athletes from our team,” Moir said after a competition widely expected to be their last. “That was so special to us and we’re going to return that favor,“ he said. “We just can’t wait to be fans.”
Team USA on a roll
Now it is getting interesting. The United States men’s hockey team beat Slovakia 5-1 to reach the quarter-finals of the tournament in Pyeongchang.
Ryan Donato struck twice and heads the scoring charts with four goals at the Games. James Wisniewski, Mark Arcobello and Peter Ceresnak were also on target for the Americans, who went into cruise control.
They will now face the Czech Republic in the last eight on Wednesday.
“We came in with the intention of being confident, not just being worried about going home,” Donato told the media conference. “I think we just played confident, and the chemistry is continuing to grow, and it’s finally meshing.”
Close encounters of the bobsleigh kind
It was so close, they ended up sharing the gold. Canada’s Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz finished in a dramatic dead-heat with Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis in the men’s Olympic two-man bobsleigh.
Ahead of the final run at the Olympic Sliding Centre, the fastest teams were separated by less than a quarter of a second in blisteringly quick conditions due to low temperatures.
Kripps, who tops the world bobsleigh driver rankings, had three good heats with his partner Kopacz and needed to pull out another one to secure his first Olympic gold medal.
But four-times world champion Friedrich and Margis set the fastest time before the Canadians matched their mark of 3 minutes 16.86 seconds.
“It’s great,” Kripps told the media. “We’ve been friends and rivals for years so I couldn’t be happier.”
Martinod’s inspirational message
She really is a super mum. France’s Marie Martinod celebrated her silver medal with an uplifting message for the women of the world.
“You can be a woman, you can have kids and you can win Olympic medals,” she told the media after finishing second to Canada’s Cassie Sharpe in the women’s ski halfpipe final in Pyeongchang.
The 33-year-old returned to the sport after giving birth in 2009 but now plans to retire.
“I’ve been working hard and I could do it at the right times,” Martinod said. “It means I’m leaving this industry with a great message to all the girls: that you can push hard, you can push for a long time, and if you take care of yourself you can do it until you’re 33 at least.”
– with Reuters and AFP