“I think there is relief,” Moir said. “It has been a journey to get here since 2010, a lot of sleepless nights to get to the Olympic Games. If I could only have been that 22-year-old at Vancouver.
“The reason we stayed in is we wanted a different journey. Now, the pressures of this game are just melting away.”
Ilinykh and Katsalapov were just ninth at last year’s world championships but are now the latest Olympic ice dance medalists from Russia, finishing 7.51 points behind the Canadians. She’s only 19; he’s 22. The home fans started cheering when the first few notes of “Swan Lake” played for their free dance, and they were roaring when it ended with Katsalapov collapsed on his knees and Ilinykh weeping.
“The program builds and builds and builds,” Katsalapov said through a translator, “and the audience gave us energy to keep building it more and more.”
France’s Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat were fourth, 6.26 points out of bronze. The other U.S. teams, Madison Chock and Evan Bates and siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, finished eighth and ninth.
Russia has won 18 of 33 medals in ice dance’s Olympic history, but now North Americans own two straight golds. Virtue and Moir have said they’ll likely retire. For Davis and White, talk of the future can wait until this historic victory starts feeling real.
“We wanted to fight for the best performance we could give and we did that. You dream of this for so long, work so hard, and they worked hard, too,” White said, referring to Virtue and Moir. “They always have been with us, pushing us, and we couldn’t have done it without them.”