Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Grace Under Pressure: Virtue and Moir

How could you not root for Canadian figure skating cutie pies Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (right, photo by Paul Drinkwater /NBC)? The ice dance tandem seemed immune to the tremendous pressures of skating before a home crowd and captured the Gold. It was amazing to see these kids, just 20 and 22, skating, swinging and spinning in unison at dazzling speeds, knowing the young American pair (and their training partners) Meryl Davis and Charlie White had thrown down a doozey after their own impressive routine.
Virtue, besides that name, has that Rory from Gilmore Girl thing going for her. Moir was hilarious, punking his partner with that "we're second" scare. Both were the coolest Canucks on or off the ice. CTV probably already has them eTalked into doing "Degrassi: Goin' for the Gold" or at least guest shots on Hiccups and Dan for Mayor. NBC was so into it they broadcast the ice dance competition live (or as live as they get; it still had a five-second delay compared to the CTV feed). The American broadcaster took the extra step of staying with all four finalists without commercial interruption.
Both the U.S. and Canadian broadcast teams, including CTV's Rod Black, (left), did a great job of shutting their yaps and just letting the skaters do all the talking with their performances. There was also a lovely sense of something missing from the rest of these games--international athletic brotherhood.
You almost hated to see somebody hand Canadian and American flags to two of the teams during their victory lap/photo op. So much flag waving and podium-owning has been going on that it is refreshing just to see six young citizens of the world stand together and get the love from a packed arena. Sure, the icing on the cake is hearing the Canadian anthem, but the joy in all the performances was contagious and transcended nationality for a brief, shining moment. And that, Charlie Brown, is what the Olympics are all about.
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