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You’d never know it, considering the chemistry between Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as they skated to gold this week, but a little over a year ago, Moir was training alone—using a hockey stick and a sandbag as a stand-in for his partner.Back then, Virtue could “barely walk,” says Lynn Lee, a close friend of the Moirs.
Moir’s mom Alma and her twin sister Carol both skated competitively, then later coached; his older brothers Danny and Charlie also competed.“I never coached my own boys,” says Alma, chuckling. I coached her daughters—that was our trade-off.” It was Carol who first thought of pairing Virtue, from nearby London, with Moir.“And for the longest time before that they didn’t even know what was wrong with her.” Yes, it’s been quite the ride for Canada’s golden duo, the youngest ice dance gold medallists in history, and the first North Americans to win the event in its 30-year Olympic history.It makes their victory, following a near-flawless skate on Monday, even more remarkable.“Last year was very tough,” says their coach and choreographer, Igor Shpilband.
In October 2008, Virtue went under the knife to relieve pain in her shins, the result of chronic exertional compartment syndrome (each of her calves still bears four circular scars from the surgery).