Tumble a setback for Moir and Virtue

QMI Agency

QMI Agency

Ryan Pyette, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:51 PM ET

QUEBEC CITY - There are a million little things to fret over when you're one of the top two ice dance teams in the world.

Falling flat on your back early in your short program isn't usually front and centre.

So when Scott Moir touched blades with partner Tessa Virtue and took the tumble that will probably cost them the only major figure skating competition they haven't won, the Canadian Olympic gold medallist did what everyone who knows him best would've expected.

He turned the gasps into laughs Friday at the International Skating Union's Grand Prix final in Quebec City.

He bounced up, took quick little choppy steps to catch up to Virtue, then mimicked his plunge in the kiss and cry area while mugging for the cameras.

"We had a bobble and it's two seconds of a three-minute program -- we were pleased with two minutes and 58 seconds of it," the 24-year-old from Ilderton, Ont., said after finishing the short dance in second spot behind American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White. "At that point, what can you do? You just get up and move on."

This wasn't their first fall. It probably won't be their last, either.

Moir isn't normally the one hitting the deck, though.

"It's usually I'm the one who falls," Virtue, a 22-year-old from London, Ont., said. "Were you at Skate Canada in Kitchener in 2009? I fell like five times."

The mistake came with an automatic one-point deduction and made it nearly impossible for the Canadians to maximize their scores.

Davis and White, the two-time defending champs, emerged with a massive five-plus point lead heading into Sunday's free dance.

They took to the ice without knowing Moir fell. They don't watch their training mates skate when they're at the same competition.

"We have enough things to think about like twizzles," White said. "When you hear the crowd laughing like they were, you just figure it's Scott hamming it up out there."

Said Moir: "The crowd wasn't laughing. It's not Yuk Yuk's out there."

This was an important event for Virtue and Moir.

They hoped to win the Grand Prix final for the first time and re-affirm their status as the best ice dancers on the planet after another Virtue leg injury cost them almost all of their 2010-11 season.

"The last three years, we were just hanging on," Moir said, "so now, it's nice to be able to push it again."

And when you try to go beyond what has been done, sometimes falls happen.

"Our free dance is our favourite," he said, "and we're going to come out and do it the best we can. We don't worry about the judges' scores. It's about how we feel."

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca

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