Canada's Virtue and Moir named flag bearers for Pyeongchang Olympics

Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir pose with a Canadian flag after being named Canada's flag-bearers for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games during an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

TORONTO (Reuters) - Olympic gold medal ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will carry Canada’s flag into the opening ceremonies of the Pyeongchang Winter Games, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC)announced on Tuesday.

Virtue and Moir, gold medal winners on home ice at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and silver medalists four years later in Sochi, arrive in Pyeongchang as red hot contenders to again top the podium.

The figure skating duo took two years off after Sochi but have been nearly unbeatable since their return.

They went undefeated during the 2016-17 season, winning their first-ever Grand Prix final title and collecting their third career world championship crown.

Virtue and Moir’s Olympic build-up has been nearly as polished with the pair unbeaten until a runner-up finish last month at the Grand Prix final behind their biggest rivals, French couple Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron.

“Tessa and Scott are champions who have always represented Canada with such strength and grace,” said COC president Tricia Smith in a statement. “They have become two of our country’s greatest ambassadors to the Olympic Movement.

“They are admired by their team mates, respected by their opponents and adored by their fans, congratulations Tessa and Scott, you make us all extremely proud.”

Virtue and Moir, Canada’s first dual flag bearers, will lead the country’s team of close to 230 athletes into the Olympic stadium on Feb. 9.

Reporting by Steve Keating; Editing by Ken Ferris