Staying up to watch Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir was probably a bad decision career-wise. With a total of six hours of sleep, I stumbled into the office this morning with circles the size of Jupiter under my eyes. But did I care? No. Because I witnessed Olympic history.
Because of the time difference, the Canadian ice dancing sweethearts did not perform until 11:15pm my time, and you can bet your bottom dollar I waited in extreme anticipation for their free skate.
Tessa and Scott have instantly become international Olympic icons, both due to their ability and their intense romantic tension (despite saying they're only friends). The couple has been skating together for 20 years, and came out of retirement for these Olympics.
Tessa, 28, and Scott, 30, were left disappointed and confused at the Sochi 2014 Olympics when they lost out on the gold medal to the American skaters, and announced their career was done. But in 2016, the duo realized they wanted to come back and compete one last time.
The duo picked up where they left off, dominating every competition they entered. The Olympics were no different. After winning gold in the team skating competition, Tessa and Scott set their eyes on the pairs skating. Their short program was a Samba, Rhumba and Cha Cha set to music by The Rolling Stones, Eagles and Santana.
They worked their way to first place after an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction for the French team, which limited their performance. Tessa and Scott looked like they were on their way to a second gold medal at the Olympics, and the world was collectively screaming.
But they started screaming for a different reason when it was uncovered that things may not be what they seem.
In what is the worst-kept secret in figure skating, judge tampering happens. We don't want to admit it, but the sport isn't as fair as we are lead to believe. After Tessa and Scott's incredible short dance, people began to worry that it was pointless.
Rumors started swirling that the French duo was going to win the gold regardless. It became evident that the skating world's preference to European skaters over anyone from North American was still prevalent, and was potentially damaging a historic run for Tessa and Scott.
"Over the last year and change, if not longer, if you look at the protocols there has been a concerted effort to set [the French skaters] up as the gold medal favorites/winners, Hannah Stuart explained. "The French federation president has been suspended for bribing judges before (see: the Salt Lake City Olympics). If it is happening, the current form of "fixing" is complicated, but here's how it would work: Judges from certain countries would give P/C GOEs/levels they don't deserve in exchange for French judges upscoring skaters from those countries."
Panic set in. Suddenly what was about to be a fairy tale ending for Tessa and Scott was turning into a nightmare. Even fellow Canadian skater Meagan Duhamel posted a cryptic tweet about the scoring.
"For all the ice dancers competing today: Please don’t allow the numbers awarded to you by judges determine your value as skaters. Hold onto the feeling of happiness and pride you have in your ending position to tell you if you are a winner or not."
Now we had to stay up and watch. We were going to witness history, but whether it was good or bad was yet to be determined.
The French skaters competed before Tessa and Scott, and earned themselves a world record score. It was shocking to viewers, as the routine seemed to lack any excitement or extraordinary components. Even the announcers pointed out that it would be an extreme challenge for Tessa and Scott to win the gold now, but that seemed to push them either further.
My adrenaline started racing. I sent 17 (count 'em) texts to my friend Alexa which contained profanities, crying emojis, and phrases like "I CAN'T" and "I'M GONNA THROW UP." That's how much we love our figure skaters here in Canada. It's a sickness.
The Canadian couple (who aren't actually a couple but definitely should be) came out and performed their incredible Roxanne routine, and fans had their jaws on the floor the entire time. Even at the end of their performance, Tessa and Scott looked stunned at what they had accomplished. The two embraced and our hearts melted.
If nothing else, we had just witnessed the most amazing performance these two had to offer. If they won gold, we would be elated. If they didn't, we'd be boycotting all things French from now until the end of time. As we waited for their score, eight trillion emotions ran through our head. Would it be rigged? Would it matter? Were they going to finally kiss and give the entire world what we've all been waiting for?
When their score was finally announced, it was GOLD. But the duo didn't seem to know that at first. After about 15 seconds, Scott finally clued in and jumped up. He scooped up his partner and the joy they felt radiated around the globe. People who were dead asleep shot up in excitement (okay maybe not, but they SHOULD HAVE). This was it. This was the perfect ending to their career.
"I've waited to hear Tessa laugh and cry at the same time since 2010," confessed an emotional Scott.
Tessa and Scott set a world record for overall score, and became the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history with five medals. I cried, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. These skaters have shown us what love is, even if it's just a love between partners.
“We love to skate together and we love to play the characters that we’re playing,” Scott said. “After 20 years, if you don’t have love for each other...do you know what we’ve been through together? It’s been a fun ride to be together. We don’t have to fake the feeling of looking into each other’s eyes and feeling something. That’s a joy. It’s been a joy our whole career ... We’ve spent hours in dark, crappy hockey rinks doing programs like this to be in this limelight and to enjoy this moment together.”
After what is believed to be their last competitive competition together, CBC put together a montage of Tessa and Scott's 20-year partnership which featured footage of them as young skaters all the way up to the PyeongChang Olympics. It was described as "emotional terrorism" for those who watched.
"Sometimes I might not always have the power to do it for myself, but I will always do it for Tess," an emotional Scott said in the montage.
Cue the waterworks, once again. As for retirement? We could be lucky.
"We'll wait a few minutes before we R word," Scott said. "We don't want to be like Brett Favre, back and forth, back and forth."