'Rainbow' key to Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir finding Sochi gold

Canadian figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir compete in the team ice dance short dance...

Canadian figure skaters Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir compete in the team ice dance short dance program at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 8, 2014. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

Steve Buffery, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - This ice dance thing is pretty easy.

Apparently all you have to do to win the gold medal is to defy the laws of gravity and wait for the sun to break out after a rain storm.

At least, that's according to renowned ice dance coach Marina Zoueva.

When asked on Saturday what her Canadian duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have to do to defend their Olympic ice dance gold medal, Zoueva replied: "I tell them they have to run in the rainbow."

Zoueva is originally from Russia, so her English is not always, how you say, elegant. But the general idea (we think) is that Zoueva wants Virtue and Scott to lose themselves in their freedance program. Which is all well and good.

The problem is that, running in rainbows aside, Virtue and Moir are really up against it at these Olympics. Yes, they're the defending Olympic ice dance champions, but their arch-rivals, Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., seem to have their number.

The past four times the two teams went head-to-head, including last weekend in the Olympic team competition, the Americans came out on top. At the world championships last year, the U.S. team won by 1.27 points. At the Grand Prix Final in December, the gap was 1.28. And then in the team program here in Sochi, Davis and White crushed the Canadians by almost seven points.

Moir said after the team program that he and his partner had to address some technical issues, and then they'd be back in the hunt for the gold. The Olympic ice dance competition begins with the short program on Sunday, followed by the freedance on Monday. Moir never said anything about rainbows, but Zoueva did acknowledge that there were some technical elements they did fix this week, starting with the opening lift in their freedance.

"And that's exactly what we did," the personable coach said. "We change position for squat. It makes lift more smooth."

Virtue and Moir also had some trouble with the freedance footwork, but Zoueva said all of that starts with the opening lift and, if they fix that, the rest of the program will fall into place. The coach said her Canadian team had their best practice on Saturday since arriving in Sochi.

"Was so unison, so together, they were very confident," she said, in her thick Russian accent. "Skating the best that they can."

Zoueva finds herself in an awkward situation heading into the Olympic ice dance competition in that she coaches both of the top contenders -- Virtue and Moir and Davis and White. It's a dynamic that has many people in figure skating scratching their heads. But Zoueva doesn't see it as a problem or as juggling two sets of teams.

"I'm not juggle. I just work, I just do my job, guys," she said. "I have wonderful, so talented teams. So I'm not juggle. I just do my job."

There have been whispers that Zoueva, who also choreographs both teams, came up with a more appealing freelance for the American team -- skated to Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov. Virtue and Moir's freedance is skated to a series of pieces by Russian composers Alexander Glazunov and Alexander Scriabin has not always been enthusiastically received.

Zoueva denies that the Americans' program is better in any way. She said it will come down to who skates the best on Sunday and Monday nights.

"They're very different. It's very hard," she said. "It's the judges' job to decide the quality of skating and what they're looking for this season.

"I just wish both skate really, really good and get best performance, special for Olympic Games, just a nice, strong performance."

And running in a rainbow wouldn't hurt.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun

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