May 1, 2011
Virtue's journey began in London
By JONATHAN SHER, QMI Agency
LONDON, ONT. - Her path to greatness began with a short commute from her home in North London to an ice rink in Ilderton.
Tessa Virtue was six years old then and not matched yet with a young boy who’d become her other half.
But already her athleticism and competitive drive was evident, traits that would help lift her and Scott Moir to the heights of ice dancing and Olympic gold.
Virtue is one of two acclaimed athletes named by the YMCA of Western Ontario as a woman of excellence, one of nine women overall. (Competing in the World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow on the weekend, she will not attend the YMCA gala Tuesday.)
All nine point to others who helped them succeed but Virtue alone was honoured for acclaim that was purely the product of partnership.
In fact, if it were not for her dance partner Scott Moir, Virtue might have left skating excellence behind to pursue another athletic endeavor — ballet.
In an autobiography the dance pair penned with the help of author Steve Milton, Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold, Virtue wrote about spending a month in Toronto trying out for Canada’s National Ballet School.
While she was offered a placement, she turned it down, in no small part because of her loyalty to Moir and their joint pursuit of excellence.
They’ve succeeded as Virtue has overcome a series of injuries and ailments that has placed her in the hands of a surgeon several times.
Among the highlights:
Paired by Moir’s aunt in 1997 when Virtue was eight and Moir was 10.
Won the pre-novice junior national championships in 2000.
Three-time Canadian champs.
World and Olympic champions in 2009-10.
Virtue, who attended Stoneybrook public school in London, has in recent years lived and trained in Michigan and is attending the University of Windsor as a part-time student.