KELOWNA, B.C. – We have missed them, both.
We have wondered where they were, what they were doing, what they were going to do.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir don’t know yet.
They’ve been rumbling the halls of the Prospera Centre this week, working for TSN on broadcast bits, finding out what they don’t know about the other side of the boards, inspecting possible new career paths. It’s a buzz for them, these new duties. Word has it that they are naturals as broadcasters.
But they still don’t know where their path lies. And that is okay with them.
At about the same time, out came the press releases this fall about Patrick Chan and Virtue and Moir taking the year off to ponder their futures. But the response to the press releases has been different. Chan might very well come back. Virtue and Moir? Many seemed to think the gig was up.
“To be 100 per cent honest, I think after Sochi, we thought we were done for sure,” Moir said in Kelowna this week. “But we knew that was probably an emotional decision after training for 17 years straight. We needed to make sure that we took the proper time.”
Halfway through the summer Moir admitted that they had a “glimmer of hope” that they might like to come back. But they don’t know if the glimmer is strong enough and they don’t know what having that glimmer means to them. They do know one thing: they are taking time to think about that glimmer and other things.
“We don’t want to put that pressure on ourselves right now,” Virtue said. “We’ve been dealing with that kind of stress for 10-12 years now. It’s kind of nice just to take that off our plates for now.”
True, there are wistful moments, now that they are in the rink, and hear that opening music that stirs the heart. Virtue said in those moments, she can’t help but wonder what she and Moir would have done for programs, for choreography, what it would feel like one more time to face that cheering Canadian crowd that they love.
And then they remember what fun it is to go grocery shopping and run mundane errands during mid-week and visit their parents and siblings any time they’d like. During those moments, Moir feels the pull of ordinary life. Now that they’ve tasted that, how to give it up for singled-minded training?
Virtue says she is currently straddling two worlds. She is finishing her psychology degree at the University of Western Ontario in her hometown, London, Ont. Yet she and her partner are doing speaking engagements and appearances. They did a little skating tour in China. But basically, they have been off the ice altogether over the summer and into the fall, although Moir has been playing a little hockey.
If they returned, they know they would do things differently. They would train differently. With their history of injury, they would take a more intellectual, scientific-based approach to training. And they’d like to try out new choreographers. They are already cooking up plans to work with Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon – who had been their idols and mentors as they grew up – and with the hugely talented Jeffrey Buttle, who they’ve already worked with on Stars on Ice.
Virtue and Moir are doing the Holiday Festival on ice gala in December. That means they are planning programs and also need to get back to training for that. They are looking forward to it.
At Skate Canada International, they were impressed with the routines of all three Canadian dance teams. In fact, Virtue was most impressed with the new faces of “Liz” Paradis and “Frankie” Ouellette, who finished seventh here, but who evoked an emotional rush with their “Un peu plus haut” free dance. Tears were shed.
Ice dance in Canada is in good hands right now, they see. “The other thing is, is there room for us to come back?” Moir says. “Geez.”