Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have ice danced their way to five Olympic medals, three world championship titles, and eight national titles, but on Wednesday, they slid into unfamiliar territory in London, Ont.
The former ice-dancing duo received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Western University during the institution’s 314th convocation.
“This has to be the highest honour of our career,” said Virtue.
“It’s something that we wouldn’t have even known to dream of or aim for. What a recognition. It’s an absolute privilege to be here, in my home town, at the University of Western Ontario where my mom worked…it’s just incredible.”
Moir was nearly speechless. He said he felt humbled and thrilled by the honour.
During their speech, the pair shared their own story of growth and perseverance. The told students that they, too, are opening a new chapter following the announcement of their retirement from ice dancing.
“We share a lot of similarities with the students who are kind of ending this chapter of their life and going into the real world. We kind of feel like that as well,” said Moir.
After a 22-year career, Virtue and Moir announced they would be leaving the sport of ice dancing for good in September 2019. They’re currently making their way across the country on their Rock the Rink tour. The duo will be at Budweiser Gardens on Oct. 30.
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“As we’re performing we’re able to digest this news of retirement and let it percolate and come to terms with that in our own way,” said Virtue.
“There’s parts in the show where we kind of go back to some of our favourite performances and it’s like we’re watching a real life highlight real. Almost no athlete gets that chance to share that with their fans and say goodbye,” said Moir.
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So what’s next for the Olympic gold medalists?
“We’re certainly people who look ahead and plan and set goals and strive for new challenges, and that will be no different in life beyond skating,” said Virtue.
“Whether that’s an academic pursuit, more of a charitable involvement, or in the business realm, I think we’re both looking forward to embracing those new projects and stepping out of our comfort zone.”
Virtue said she’s hoping to start her MBA next year, but beyond that she’s ready for new opportunities.
“In many ways retirement opens up those opportunities for us. Speaking for myself, I’m not certain where I want to go, but I’m very excited about the next chapter,” said Moir.