Recently, Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir announced their retirement from the sport of ice dance. In the days since, many articles have been written about the Canadian figure skaters whose on-ice partnership and off-ice friendship has spanned the past 22 years.
As someone who has had the pleasure and privilege of getting to know Tessa & Scott over the past several years, I too would like to share a few thoughts about this legendary duo.
With Glowing Hearts
Back in 2010, I served as a volunteer at the Vancouver Olympics and had the good fortune of attending more than 30 events throughout the course of the Games.
Unfortunately, I was not at the Pacific Coliseum on the final day of the ice dance competition, so I can’t claim to have witnessed Virtue & Moir’s historic gold medal performance in person.
Nevertheless, I had the pleasure of watching them skate in the Olympic Gala and later had a chance to congratulate them on their remarkable achievement when we crossed paths at the Vancouver airport following the Games.
When I first met Tessa & Scott, I was immediately struck by how gracious they were. At the time, I never could have imagined that I’d eventually go on to form a friendship with the pair and have the opportunity to document some of their most memorable accomplishments in the years that followed.
Combining Artistry & Athleticism
As a kid, I wasn’t an especially gifted athlete, but I loved staying active. That said, while most boys my age played organized sports like hockey, I took a slightly different approach by taking dance lessons instead.
Looking back on it now, I realize that much of my appreciation for figure skating, and ice dance in particular, stems from the nearly 15 years that I spent doing ballet, tap and jazz.
Dancers are not only trained to develop their strength and stamina, but also become skilled at expressing themselves through movement, and captivating the audience by making difficult maneuvers look effortless. Of course, the same can be said of competitive figure skaters.
In all my life, I’ve never seen anyone combine artistry and athleticism more perfectly than Virtue & Moir.
Since 2010, I’ve witnessed Tessa & Scott prepare for and compete at multiple events, including the ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the Canadian National Skating Championships, the Autumn Classic International, and the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. I’ve also had the pleasure of watching them perform several times with Stars on Ice, the CNE, and The Thank You Canada Tour.
Like anyone who’s ever seen Tessa & Scott skate, I’ve always been in complete awe of their athletic abilities, their artistic talents, and their undeniable chemistry as a pair. Being rink-side when they won gold in PyeongChang was an almost spiritual experience.
As a photographer, it’s been exhilarating to document these performances, but the truth is, most of the credit for the resulting images is owed to the skaters themselves. As I often say, I just press a button; the athletes do all the work.
Setting the Stage
It’s very hard to describe the feeling of being in such close proximity to someone (or, in this case, a duo) who is quite literally the best in the world at what they do.
While millions of people have had the opportunity to watch Tessa & Scott compete, relatively few have had the chance to see first-hand all the hard work that goes into each of their performances.
As someone who has been offered this rare glimpse behind the scenes, I must say, watching Tessa & Scott practice is every bit as inspiring as watching them compete. Every movement has a purpose, every stroke is executed in perfect unison, and every lift seems to defy the laws of physics.
In recent years, I’ve often been asked what Virtue & Moir are like in person. For those who may be wondering, I can honestly say, without reservation or exaggeration, that Tessa & Scott are two of the nicest, most genuine people I’ve ever met.
Tessa is beautifully poised, brilliantly smart, and incredibly thoughtful. Scott is wickedly funny, extremely down-to-earth, and unfailingly supportive. Together, they possess a synergy that is as impressive as it is rare.
From the very first time that I met them until now, I have always been inspired by their unified and relentless pursuit of excellence.
In conclusion, I simply want to congratulate Tessa & Scott on a truly remarkable figure skating career and wish them continued success in their future endeavors.
I would also like to express my sincerest thanks to the pair for entrusting me to photograph them on and off the ice on so many special occasions. I cannot tell you what an honour it’s been.
Throughout their 22-year on-ice partnership, Tessa & Scott transcended their sport, and I have no doubt that they will each continue to make a significant and meaningful difference in the lives of everyone they cross paths with. Best of luck, you two!
Below is a gallery featuring a very small sample of the thousands of photos I’ve taken of Tessa & Scott over the years… Enjoy!