Gangneung – Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir claimed their second Olympic gold medal with a brilliant free dance on Tuesday.
Even though they edged to the top of the podium with less than a point, but they still broke the world record to the bargain.
They won with a total score of 206.07, eclipsing the world record that had been set just moments before by French pair Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who finished on 205.28.
“We don’t know what the future holds quite yet but it definitely feels like we’re getting close to the end of our career,” Moir told OBS, the official Olympics broadcaster.
The pair had previously said this would be their last Olympics and hinted that retirement from competition — this time for good — might be on the cards soon.
“We’re just proud of our accomplishments at these Games. The goal was to win two gold medals, but it’s a really intense competition,” Moir added.
“We have such respect especially for Gabriella and Guillaume. We’re pretty happy with how things turned out, that’s for sure.”
The Canadian pair, who won gold in Vancouver eight years ago, have dominated the event since they returned to competition.
The pair had retired once, following a silver at the Sochi Games four years ago.
They also have a team silver from Sochi and gold at Pyeongchang, won last week.
They made a comeback late in 2016 and powered to a number of world records with only one defeat along the way.
That loss — in the Grand Prix Final in Japan last December — was to Papadakis and Cizeron.
It had prompted the fiercely-competitive Canadians to return home and tweak their programme in response.
Papadakis and Cizeron struggled in their short programme on Monday after the top of Papadakis’s costume came loose.
They fell short by a bit less than two points for a gap they were unable to bridge with Tuesday’s skate.
The pair’s ethereal free dance had the audience at the Gangneung Ice Arena clapping.
It set a new world record for both the free skate — they scored 123.35 and topped the Canadians — and the total score.
Virtue and Moir broke that record fewer than 15 minutes later, when they scored 122.40 in the free programme, having taken a 1.74-point lead from the short skate.
“We are really proud of what we did today,” Cizeron said. “We did the best we could on the ice and it was a very emotional moment and we’re really proud of that silver medal.”
American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, known as the “Shib Sibs”, won bronze after entering the free dance in fourth, finishing on 192.59.
“I am so proud of what we accomplished,” Maia told reporters after their skate.
“To have four skates on Olympic ice that we can be extremely proud of and to come away with two Olympic medals for Team USA and ourselves and everyone that has supported us, it’s almost indescribable.”
Her brother Alex said the experience fulfilled their dreams.
“It was amazing to finally have that Olympic moment because four years ago in Sochi we left with a lot of experience, but still yearning to have that really special moment on Olympic ice that we’ve grown up watching.”