Moir, Virtue want more

RYAN PYETTE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:20 PM ET

MISSISSAUGA -- Scott Moir has officially cut the cord.

He and Tessa Virtue arrived for Skate Canada's high-performance camp at the Hershey Centre on Thursday but he left his Olympic ice dance gold medal from Vancouver back home.

"It's the first time I've gone somewhere and didn't take it with me," the 23-year-old Ilderton, Ont., native said, "and I think it's fitting. It's a new season and we're focused on 2011."

After a summer showing off the hardware across the country, does he feel like something's missing?

"I've got a (web) cam on the medal," he said, jokingly. "No, I think I'll be OK (without it)."

Virtue and Moir, the youngest Olympic and world champions in ice dance history, have glided into new territory. They're the only Canadian skaters to win Olympic gold, then return to the amateur circuit the following year.

With more in-season shows and appearances in the works -- including a couple of movie premieres at this week's Toronto International Film Festival -- they'll have to find a way to balance that with their competitive schedule.

"We still want to do those things but we still want to win, too," Virtue, 21, said, "so it'll be a new experience for us (to manage). Most skaters who win the Olympics move on to the show circuit. We just felt like we had more we could accomplish."

That conclusion was reached this summer when they had what Moir jokingly described as the "awkward talk" where they decided to push ahead and skate at least one more season.

"It was in a car," he said, "and we just looked at each other and knew we weren't done. I'm looking forward to having that awkward talk every year. I don't know if we'll go to Sochi (in 2014). A lot of things can happen. For two years before the Olympics, that's all you think about every day but this is a season where we can go through, see where we're at, then talk about where to go from there."

It'll take time to get used to the off-season changes that have swept the ice dance landscape. Will Virtue and Moir be able to push the limits of possibilities in their sport or will the new rules restrict their imagination and capabilities?

"We're having trouble predicting where the scores will be in dance," Skate Canada director of high performance Mike Slipchuk said. "That's going to have be ironed out over time and we'll see in what direction it heads."

Virtue and Moir aren't worried about it.

"We're lucky that our coaches keep on top of all the rules and everything that's going on," Virtue said. "We want to do crazy, weird things, but we know there's rules in place and you have to balance it. We're really trying to focus on the dance part of it. We don't set it out to be as acrobatic, but somehow for us, it always kind of goes that way."

The famous Goose lift is likely to be retired and used only for shows.

"I think everyone's seen a picture of Tessa and I (in mid-Goose)," Moir said. "We're working on a few different lifts. It develops over time, but I don't know, we're missing one lift. Maybe we'll just pop it in."

One thing hasn't changed. Virtue and Moir are still training in Canton, Mich., and sharing the ice with Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They'll be pushed again by their closest competitors.

"They're back this year, we're back and we just piled into Scott's car and went to Tim Hortons'," Virtue said. "That was the first time we've done that since before the Olympics. It was like nothing changed and it's great having them because they know what we're going through in a season like this."

And of course, it's the ultimate motivator.

"It's good to have your best competition close," Moir said. "You can keep your eye on them."

And while they're watching the Americans, the rest of the world will be watching Virtue and Moir.

"They're still improving," Skate Canada CEO William Thompson. "That's what's so exciting. They have a chance to take it to the next level and we'll see what happens this year."

twitter.com/ryanpyette


Videos

Photos