Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir to be remembered as Canada’s faces of 2018 Winter Olympics
Moir got a first glimpse Friday, the morning after the women’s hockey gold-medal game in Korea. His brother had sent him a screenshot of the hilarious Canadian Heritage Moments meme of Moir standing, arms outstretched, beer in hand, hollering at the refs.
“Everyone thought I was hammered,” Moir laughed, his voice hoarse from a night of cheering at hockey and curling. “This is just what I look like with a tuque on.”
“The power of social media,” Virtue said with a sigh.
“It’s a different Games because of that. The last two Olympics, we didn’t have social media like this. It’s a whole new world for us.”
Virtue and Moir have been melting hearts since they claimed gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games. But the duo garnered a whole new group of fans during these Games who swooned over their chemistry and lapped up this Canadian love story, which isn’t so much a love story as it is a tale of two great friends.
WATCH: Team Canada has most successful Winter Games ever in Pyeongchang
There are images that linger from every Games – think Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse flashing Usain Bolt a grin as they sprinted to the finish line in the 200-metre semifinals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Virtue and Moir painted those images in Pyeongchang, and by Friday evening, the lovable twosome had been mentioned almost 360,000 times on social media, according to international analytics firm Talkwalker.
American athletes with big personalities also made a huge splash on social media. Figure skater Adam Rippon became a household name with his candid, and often hilarious interviews, and had 734,000 mentions on social media. He and skier Gus Kenworthy became the first openly gay American athletes to compete in a Winter Olympics, and Kenworthy’s tweet of the two athletes, with the words “We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it,” was liked over 194,000 times.
American snowboarder Chloe Kim, gold medallist in halfpipe, was mentioned over 433,000 times.
WATCH: What’s next for Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir?
Virtue and Moir closed their Olympics with Sunday’s exhibition gala, skating to The Tragically Hip’s “Long Time Running,” a breathtaking tribute to Gord Downie. The late Hip frontman was trending on Twitter earlier in the week after the Canadians revealed their plans to honour Downie.
Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, who’s married to Blake Lively and has two children with the actress, is among the legion of Virtue and Moir fans, tweeting: “Thank you @tessavirtue & @ScottMoir for agreeing to raise my children as your own.”
Virtue’s response was equally hilarious.
While fans, and even media, have speculated on the nature of their relationship, the 28-year-old Virtue and Moir, 30, have always maintained they’re friends and business partners.
But in a press conference the morning after their gold-medal skate, Moir said something that had fans wondering once again if there was more than friendship in their future.
“We’re the type of athletes that dive head-first into the whole process and I just honestly don’t know where you would find time for (a romantic relationship),” he said. “Part of the reason maybe why we wouldn’t continue was to open up that side of our life maybe and see where that goes. And that’s as personal as I’ll get, but let’s see what happens.”
Moir clarified it the next day.
“I was talking about our skating. But I decided to let him (the reporter) have that one. I mean, could you imagine? I wish I was that smooth,” he laughed.
Virtue almost stepped in at the press conference to clarify Moir’s comments.
“It’s funny, after 20 years that this is the story,” said Virtue. “Part of me thinks it’s the best compliment because it means we’re doing our job on the ice. And part of me wishes there was a better way to explain our partnership because it’s even better than that. It’s more special to us and so unique. I wish there were better words to describe our friendship, to do it justice.”
Moir added: “You’d think, after 20 years, we would understand how to explain it better. We talk about how much we love skating together. Part of that’s real. It’s always been so easy for us to have that connection because there is that genuine love you build in 20 years.
“I guess it’s human nature to wonder if we’re a couple or not.”
Virtue and Moir are expected to retire now, although they haven’t officially announced it, saying they wanted to “let the dust settle.” They won’t compete in next month’s world championships.
© 2018 The Canadian Press