Virtue, Moir withdraw in middle of free dance
Olympic champs stop third of the way through program
|Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir stopped a third of the way through their free dance and withdrew from the competition. (Getty Images)|
By Alexandra Stevenson and Lynn Rutherford, special to icenetwork.com
(02/18/2011) - In a shocking development, Olympic and world champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada, who led after the short dance, withdrew from Four Continents after stopping a third the way through their Samba free dance on Friday. Their retirement left the way clear for U.S. rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who had already skated a solid performance, to take the gold. The three-time U.S. champions, who placed second to their Canadian training mates at both the 2010 Olympics and worlds, snaked through their intricate Tango routine, which earned 103.02 points (50.01 for their element score and 53.02 for components). Added to their short dance mark, they earned a total of 172.03. There appeared to be a problem right from the start of Virtue and Moir's free dance. In their first element -- twizzles -- instead of their usual crisp execution, they drifted very close to each other. They completed diagonal steps, and then she jumped into their rotational lift, in which he twirls her around his head like a baton. On completion of the move, Virtue appeared to skate away from her partner, who didn't seem that shocked. After a few seconds, he joined by the boards to talk to their coaches, Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband. Moir patted his partner on the back and appeared to be reassuring her. He then went to the referee, Alexander Gorshkov, and then went back to the coaches. Zoueva waved an arm, indicating that they should go to center ice and bow to the audience. They did, and the competition continued with the last of 12 couples, Canadian silver medalists Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. More details on the ice dance competition will be posted shortly.