Two more gold medals for Canada

The Canadian Press

It was a golden farewell for Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir but an Olympic debut to remember for Cassie Sharpe.
In what likely was their final competitive performance, Virtue and Moir won ice dance figure skating gold at the Pyeongchang Games after scoring 122.40 points in Tuesday’s free skate for a world-best combined score of 206.07.
They also had won gold in the team event earlier in the Olympics.
Freestyle skier Sharpe, meanwhile, topped the halfpipe event in her first Olympic competition.
The two medals boosted Canada’s total to 19 (eight gold, five silver, and six bronze), good for third in the overall standings.
Norway leads with 28 medals, followed by Germany at 20.
Fans at the Gangneung Ice Arena roared during Virtue and Moir’s steamy skate to music from “Moulin Rouge” and the Canadians were all smiles as they took what likely will be the last bows of their career.
The skaters have said they will retire after Pyeongchang.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling because it’s something we have envisioned for so many years,” Virtue said about their centre-ice hug.
“That moment has replayed in my mind over and over, but you just never know what will go through your head.
“I couldn’t help but think about the 20 years we’ve spent working for this moment and the incredible team of people behind us,” she added.
France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron were second with a combined score of 205.28.
American siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani finished third with 192.59.
Virtue and Moir also won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics but settled for silver at the Sochi Games four years ago.
“Amazing,” said Virtue. “It was a special moment to come out last.
“It was a strong last group, there was a lot of pressure, but I’m so happy with how we performed.”
Sharpe, of Comox, B.C., delivered on all of her tricks for an opening score of 94.40.
She was even better on her second run with a 95.80 score.
“I feel like I grabbed every trick and went big,” she remarked.
“It’s definitely a run that I’m super proud of.”
Skiing last in the 11-athlete field, Sharpe didn’t need her third and final run.
France’s Marie Martinod had a 92.60 in her second run and was gunning for Sharpe but crashed out on her third trip, guaranteeing Sharpe gold.
The 25-year-old Canadian was watching from the top and with victory in hand, high-fived coach Trennon Paynter before heading down to showcase a few more tricks.
She extended her arms in joy as she reached the bottom of the pipe.
“I’ve put in a ton of work into having consistency with this run,” Sharpe noted.
“So was I expecting a dominant performance? Maybe not so much those words, but I was expecting a consistent and clean performance.
“It doesn’t feel real yet but once I see my family and feel the love, it’ll sink in,” she added.
“So much hard work has gone into this, I’m elated.”
American Brita Sigourney took third with a 91.60 in her final run.
Calgary’s Roz Groenewoud finished 10th with a top score of 70.60.
And once again, it was a matter of mixed results in curling for Canada.
Calgary’s Kevin Koe scored two in the third and sixth ends as Canada topped Japan 8-4.
Koe (5-3) moved into a three-way tie for second with Britain and South Korea in the standings.
The top four teams in the round-robin advance to the semi-finals, with Sweden’s Niklas Edin (7-1) having already qualified for the playoffs.
Koe plays Denmark on Wednesday in the final round-robin match for both teams.
But Ottawa’s Rachel Homan is on the brink of missing the women’s playoffs after a 7-5 loss to China.
Canada (3-4) dropped to seventh in the standings.
Although not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, Homan will need to win her two remaining games and have key opponents lose theirs to make the top four and advance to the semi-finals.
Canada plays Britain and the team from Russia Wednesday.

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