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Moir’s mom Alma and her twin sister Carol both skated competitively, then later coached; his older brothers Danny and Charlie also competed.“I never coached my own boys,” says Alma, chuckling. I coached her daughters—that was our trade-off.” It was Carol who first thought of pairing Virtue, from nearby London, with Moir.“And when it was their turn, all the skaters and coaches sat back and just watched them.” Carol, who’d long since realized she had something special on her hands, had turned them over to Paul Mac Intosh and Suzanne Killing of the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club.The close-knit Moirs and Virtues, who Carol says share a “big, farming family bond,” split the gruelling driving duties to Kitchener; they’d get up at 4 a.m. The kids would climb into the back of the car, and fall asleep immediately, says Jim.He was also a dynamic dancer at a young age—“rare for boys,” says Mac Intosh.Virtue had grace from years of dancing (in fact, she turned down a spot with the National Ballet of Canada to focus on skating).
“They were maybe 10 and 12 years old, or younger,” she says.Her coaches, who held weekly conference calls with her doctor and physiotherapist, had to be careful not to push too hard.Virtue and Moir’s return to the competitive circuit began in Vancouver, a year ago this month, at the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships at the Pacific Coliseum, the Olympic figure skating venue.“And for the longest time before that they didn’t even know what was wrong with her.” Yes, it’s been quite the ride for Canada’s golden duo, the youngest ice dance gold medallists in history, and the first North Americans to win the event in its 30-year Olympic history.It makes their victory, following a near-flawless skate on Monday, even more remarkable.