After every Olympics, one thing in figure skating is inevitable: a slew of retirements. Several veteran skaters have already announced that this is the end for them. And after the ice dance competition ended on Monday night with a victory for Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, one question was on everyone's minds: would this be the end of the road for Tessa and Scott?
Even after taking two seasons off following the 2014 Olympics — during which another team, French duo Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, ascended to near-unbeatable dominance — they returned two years ago and climbed right back to the top. Could they continue and enjoy this level of success? Probably.
Will they? Probably not.
For one thing, Tessa and Scott are older than the majority of their competitors already; if they continued to the 2022 Olympics, they would be 32 and 34 — an age by which most competitors have retired due to the intense physical strain and riskiness of elite athletic training.
For another, the duo have already achieved pretty much every milestone they could. With their gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea, they became the most decorated ice dancers in history: five Olympic medals, including gold medals in the individual ice dance event in 2010 and 2018. The mark they have left on the sport is evident in the romantic programs and acrobatic lifts that so many teams utilize. They're fan favorites for the intensity of their passionate programs and for their unending dedication to pushing their own technical boundaries and bringing the rest of the sport along with them.
Most of all, Tessa and Scott have indicated — albeit indirectly — that they're content and ready to move on. At the press conference following their gold-medal-winning free dance, they stated that they weren't going to compete against their French rivals again, though they stopped short of actually saying "retirement."
So be prepared, skating fans: that exhausted, ecstatic embrace at center ice may have been the last time we'll see Tessa and Scott on competitive ice. Common wisdom is that they made their comeback to attempt to win gold in Pyeongchang. Now that they have, and so many other teams of their era are likely retiring (fellow Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, Russians Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev), they are content to let their reign over the sport end on a glorious high note that they — and we — won't soon forget.