Watching the Olympics over a two-week span is to view one inspirational narrative after another, sandwiched between superhuman feats of athleticism. Some have a little extra romance to offer. Or so we hope…
Valentine’s Day extended itself for Canada this year and it came from the other side of the planet on an Olympian ice rink. In the absence of true collective moments, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir filled the gap and then some. It took another Olympian, equally winsome, to capture what was happening:
Following their gold medal performance, the pair answered questions on Facebook live session, but managed to duck the obvious and most asked question in the Facebook feed: Are you two dating? Are you really connected?
It’s kind of like an arranged marriage.
They are performers, after all. Ice dancing is a performance art as much as it is a sport. Asking Tessa and Scott if they’re dating is asking any actors who have played a romantic narrative if it’s really true. Did you really fall in love or is it just movie magic?
It’s immaterial. These two Canadian champions are connected in a powerful brand twenty years in the making. They are already reality TV stars. In 2013 they filmed a seven-episode television show calledTessa and Scottthat aired in 2014 on the W network. Americans are equally captivated. There is likely no question they haven’t been asked; ambassador smiles on cue. I have yet to witness an interview (and there are so many) when they have not been measured and hyper-articulate in their responses. Both are highly intelligent athletes who surround themselves with a sophisticated support group. There is no off-ice need we have that goes unanswered, says Scott, in this excellent short deconstruction of their gold medal routine Roxanne. For anyone longing for more of their magic, watching that short special provides a peek behind the wizard’s curtain, and an answer to those sports fans who find the whole ice skating world impenetrable. Here, we meet The B2ten group of “innovators, activators and disruptors”, all transparent in their mission statement:
“B2ten believes that successful athletes can have a powerful and positive influence on society in general and young people in particular. We mentor the personal development of athletes. In doing so we encourage athletes to be ambassadors for active and healthy lifestyles as well as to participate in community service projects for the greater good of the society.”
Asked what she’d like their legacy to be, Tessa Virtue didn’t pause: that we were good people.
Canada 150 may have lost some lustre but I’d say some of it is back here in 2018 with that one answer.
What matters is not what happens when they are off the ice but what they deliver when they’re on: a stunning achievement of artistry and physical power created after hours and hours of training, years and years of teamwork. The true romance? Making something continue to work in a spectacular example of partnership and creating something transcendent in a dark and uncertain time. No fake news here.