Figure skating pair Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue will be Canada’s flag bearers, leading Team Canada into the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea next month.
The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), announced Tuesday Moir and Virtue, will lead Canada’s delegation in the opening ceremonies on Feb. 9.
The pair will lead about 230 athletes marking the first time Canada has had dual flag bearers for an Olympic opening ceremony.
COC President Tricia Smith said the duo “represented Canada with such strength and grace.”
“They have become two of our country’s greatest ambassadors to the Olympic movement. They are admired by their teammates, respected by their opponents and adored by their fans,” Smith said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was on hand to introduce the Olympic gold medallists in Ottawa, passing the flag to Moir and Virtue.
“Next month when our Olympic flag bearers march into the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium they will be carrying not just the Canadian flag but the hopes of every person who aspires to represent Canada at the Olympics someday,” the prime minister said.
Virtue, 28, and Moir, 30, made their Olympic debut eight years ago on home ice in Vancouver, where they captured a gold medal and became household names.
“This is undoubtedly the pinnacle of our career,” Virtue said. “The honour of carrying the Canadian flag into the opening ceremony…brings with it a sense of duty, privilege and above all great pride.”
Calling it an “unparalleled honour,” Moir vowed the pair will “embrace the Olympic spirit in the purest form.”
“Team Canada is ready,” Moir said.
The opening ceremony is set for Feb. 9 at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in South Korea.
The pair skyrocketed to success early in their careers, nabbing a world junior title in 2006 before going on to win silver in their second senior world championships in 2008. Virtue and Moir made history at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics after becoming the youngest pair to capture an ice dancing gold medal.
The former captain of the women’s national hockey team, Hayley Wickenheiser, led Team Canada into the Fisht Olympic Stadium for the 2014 Sochi Games in Russia. Speed skater Clara Hughes carried the flag on home soil for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, while hockey player Danielle Goyette carried the flag in 2006 at the Turin Games in Italy.
An international data analytics company predicted Canada will win a whopping 33 medals at the Games next month.
In a virtual medal table released Wednesday, Gracenote projects the Canadian team will rank third in total medals behind Germany (40) and Norway (37) and ahead of the United States (29).
The 2018 Winter Olympics close Feb. 25.
–with a file from the Canadian Press