'Crush' nets silver for Canada

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

GOTEBORG, Sweden -- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir didn't promise each other, in a London, Ont. sandbox, that one day they'd grow up and skate together and win a silver medal at the World Figure Skating Championships.

But close.

"When we were little kids skating together for the first time, we didn't say much for the first couple of years. She had a huge crush. That crush has lasted 11 years. There, it's out in the open. It better be in the paper now," laughed the 20-year-old Moir after they made magic together here yesterday.

"No comment," said Virtue, 18.

They were just little kids when they were put together as a dance duo by Moir's aunt in 1997, the last time Canada won two medals at the World Figure Skating Championships.

But the little kids will leave here with Canada's second medal of these Worlds, believing they can become Olympic gold-medal winners at Vancouver 2010.

"We started together so young. After a while, we knew we had something. It's been a great journey. We're so fortunate to have each other," Virtue said.

"We are so lucky to see each other every day and love what we are doing," Moir said. "There's no limit to what we can do."

The two Canadian kids, who dressed like a couple of high schoolers headed to the prom instead of parading around in over-the-top costume creations like most of the other dance duos here, won the free dance to move up from third to second overall for the silver.

The silver followed the surprise bronze by Jessica Dube and Bruce Davison 13 months after his skate had sliced her face for 83 stitches in one of the most gory accidents in pairs skating history.

Canada hasn't had a two-medal worlds since Elvis Stojko won gold and Victor Kraatz and Shae-Lynn Bourne took bronze at the Lausanne worlds in 1997.

"That's a real statement they made winning the free dance," said Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada's new high performance director. "When they do it, it's the best free dance in the world and they did it (last night) and it was the best free dance in the world.

"They walked in last year and finished sixth at worlds and they were closer to ending up first here than to third," he said.

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France won the gold with a score of 212.94. The Canadians registered a 208.80 total. Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski took the bronze with a score of 203.26.

GETTING IT DONE

"So far they've done all the things they have to do before they go to Vancouver 2010," he said of the Olympic Winter Games 23 months from now."

"It reminds me of what Patrick Chan said when he won Canadians in Vancouver," said new Skate Canada CEO Williams Thompson.

"He said 'Holy spit!'

"We just had another 'Holy spit!' moment."

The first two Canadian ice dancers to win the world junior title, Virtue and Moir went from sixth at worlds last year to fourth at the Grand Prix final to first at Four Continents and came here for the first time as Canadian champions.

"We're just thrilled. We can't be more excited," Virtue said.

"What a great week for us and what a building block for the next two years to come for Vancouver," Moir said.

"It brings reality to 2010," Virtue said.

The two were second in the compulsory dance but dropped a position in the original dance when her twizzles fizzled but there was nothing to deduct this night.

"I was disappointed yesterday, mostly in myself," she said. "But I was confident in the free dance. I knew we were going to nail it."

Moir said he had never felt pressure like he did before they skated yesterday.

"For the first time we could really feel the pressure. We were pretty nervous. It was exciting, though."

The two have such a delicate program for the free dance that the capacity crowd of 9,506 became so quiet you could hear a sequin drop, if either of them had one, which they didn't.

"It's difficult to remember that everybody being so quiet is a good thing," she said.

"When it's so quiet like that it's more of a challenge to come off as powerful," he said.

"We definitely expected to come and do this," Moir said. "But to actually do it ... we're definitely motivated for the next two years."

"To end up second is a dream," Virtue said.


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