Gold opens prestigious doors

Ryan Pyette, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:17 PM ET

There are a few unforgettable perks that go along with Olympic gold.

It can guide you through the velvet ropes, past 300-pound security guards and into spaces and parties with people you’ve never dreamed possible.

Like Monaco, for instance, to hang out with Prince Albert II.

“Pretty cool guy,” said Ilderton’s Scott Moir, half of the world’s best ice dance team with Tessa Virtue of London. “He was five times at the Olympics in the bobsled. We partied with the prince.”

And their celebratory beverage of choice?

“I know he was drinking some champagne,” Moir said. “We had a champagne toast.”

Of course, that’s largely the extent of the jet-setting hobnobbing Virtue and Moir have done since wrapping up the world title last month in Turin, Italy.

They’ve been too busy.

After the Olympics, they stopped in London for a quick visit, headed to Canton, Mich., to train, won their first world title and hit the Stars on Ice circuit in Japan.

“I just started looking at the pictures from Vancouver,” Virtue said. “It’s been a whirlwind. We met so many people from (Blue Rodeo’s) Jim Cuddy to (hockey coaches) Pat Quinn and Mike Babcock.

“People say life will change but we haven’t found that yet. The only thing now is more people know who we are.”

They’ve already been recognized at Toronto Maple Leaf and Ottawa Senators regular-season contests.

“We’ve been to a lot of hockey games,” Virtue said.

And they’re still skating. They just kicked off the Stars on Ice 12-city Canadian tour Thursday night in Halifax. They make a London stop at the John Labatt Centre on May 2 and they’re in Windsor next Thursday, Toronto next Friday and Hamilton Saturday.

“I think a lot of Ilderton will be there at those shows,” Virtue said. “We didn’t get to skate in the carnival for the first time in 14, 15 years. I think it’s great that we’ll get to do our free dance (complete with The Goose lift) again and we’ll perform our exhibition number (where Virtue wears a ballerina costume and Moir dons a Team Canada jersey and jeans.)”

They finish off their commitment May 14 at Vancouver’s GM Place.

“I’ll be skating on the ice where Sidney Crosby scored the overtime winner,” Moir said. “That’s going to be really cool.”

Of course, Ilderton gets another crack at their beloved skaters.

There’s a parade planned in town for June 12 at 3 p.m., followed by a reception.

Virtue and Moir are hardly parade rookies.

“C’mon, the Ilderton Fair Parade (in the fall),” the 22-year-old Moir said. “Tessa and I have been in it but weren’t this year. Sometimes, you like to just watch and try to catch the candies.”

There are two questions that follow them wherever they go.

Will they skate on to defend Olympic gold or watch Sochi 2014 on the sidelines?

“As competitors, you’d want to do it,” the 20-year-old Virtue said, “but I don’t know . . . Nothing’s been decided. I like school (she’s taking psychology at Windsor).

The second question is always about their love lives.

Dubbed “Canada’s Sweethearts” after their Vancouver gold, people are still shocked their fire on ice hasn’t translated into a relationship.

Medals aside they both know they will be forever linked.

“We did everything we set out to do,” Moir said. “. . . I’d say we changed the sport.”

Even if they, delightfully enough, haven’t changed a bit.

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

STARS ON ICE

When: Sunday, May 2, 4 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre.

Star skaters: Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir, Joannie Rochette, Kurt Browning, Jamie Sale/David Pelletier, Jeffrey Buttle, Marie-France Dubreuil/Patrice Lauzon, Cynthia Phaneuf, Jessica Dube/Bryce Davison, Shawn Sawyer, Adam Rippon.

Tickets: Available at the John Labatt Centre, by phone at 1-866-455-2849 or on-line at www.johnlabattcentre.com


Videos

Photos