Virtue, Moir delight home fans

Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:05am EST
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By Pritha Sarkar

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Canadian best friends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir had roaring home fans leaping to their feet after ending 34 years of European domination to win the Olympic ice dance gold medal on Monday.

Virtue and Moir's stirring performance to Mahler's Symphony No. 5 raised the domed roof at the Pacific Coliseum when they were awarded a combined total of 221.57 points to beat Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White by 5.83.

Russian world champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin had been tipped as the favourites but after being bumped down to third place in Sunday's original dance, they could not make up ground and had to settle for bronze with 207.64.

"This is the moment we dreamed of. It's everything we dreamed of. We could not be happier," a grinning Moir said as he caressed the shining piece of metal draped around his neck.

"I am going to wear it in the shower, I'm not taking it off all week long."

As soon as they finished their mesmerizing routine with Moir down on his knees tenderly cradling Virtue's smiling face in his hands, the 12,000 strong crowd erupted.

"Wow!" declared one banner while another proclaimed "Virtue(ly) Gold."

The judges certainly agreed. Once their score of 110.42 for the free programme flashed up, Moir thumped his chest with both hands and lifted Virtue up as she dug her nails into his back.   Continued...

<p>Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir perform in the ice dance free dance figure skating event at the Vancouver Winter Olympics February 22, 2010. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn</p>