For Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2018 Winter Olympics have been nothing short of a “fairy tale.”
The Canadian ice dancing team, started off their Olympics with a major honor: Serving as their country’s flag bearers in the opening ceremony. Then it was onto the team event, where Virtue and Moir — whose sizzling chemistry on and off the ice has been one of the hottest topics of the this year’s games — placed first in both the short dance and the free dance competitions.
Aided by their scores, Canada won gold in the team event, marking Virtue and Moir’s fourth Olympic medal over the course of their 20 year career together. In the ice dance event, they not only set a new world record in their short dance, but went on to win the gold medal. And of course, in winning said gold medal, they made history, becoming the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history, with five medals to their name: A gold in Vancouver in 2010, two silvers in Sochi in 2014 and two golds in PyeongChang.
“It’s really been a fairy tale games for us,” Virtue tells PEOPLE. “I’ve had moments where I’ve thought ‘Can we really have it all? Can we have all three of those things, all those special moments?’ “
Going into the ice dance competition, they knew they had a major rival in the form of French ice dancers Guillaume Cizeron and Gabriella Papadakis, who train with the same coaches as Virtue and Moir. “We had prepared for the French to have the performance of their lives,” Virtue says, and they did: Just before Virtue and Moir took the ice, Cizeron and Papadakis posted a world record free dance score. But Virtue says they didn’t know that when they skated their own program, having been secluded backstage. Even still, they knew they had to deliver.
“We knew that we couldn’t have one misstep, we knew that we had to bring our best, and the pressure was on,” she says. Though their free dance score was less than a point lower than the French team’s, their short dance score was big enough to make up for that small gap, and they won the gold.
“It felt so exhilarating to have delivered that performance,” Virtue says. “I kept looking at Scott and say ‘Did we really just do that?’ It was such a special moment to share together. The momentum just kept building, beginning to end, and the crowd was electric. It was 20 years in the making.”
Moir tells PEOPLE that going into this games, their focus wasn’t just on competing to the best of their ability, but on soaking up every moment of what will most likely be their last Olympics.
“This time around, we wanted to make sure we were really present and enjoyed the moment,” Moir tells PEOPLE. “We came in with the attitude that this is a celebration for us. We worked really hard, we wanted to make sure that getting there, we were focused on executing but we also wanted to be present and enjoy it, be for each other and with each other.”
It was an Olympics that almost wasn’t on the table for the team: After Sochi, they took a break from competition, sitting out of the World Championships in 2014, 2015 and 2016. But soon they realized how much they missed the training schedule and the shared goals of competition. It was in a car together in China, driving to visit the Great Wall, that they decided to return to competition, making the official announcement in February 2016.
“We were quite surprised by how much that competitive fire was still burning,” Virtue says. “The more we were talking about that, the more tangible it felt, and the more real it felt. There wasn’t that much waffling, there wasn’t a back and forth, there weren’t pro/con lists. It just felt right.”
Right it was: They won gold at their first competition back, Skate Canada in 2016, and went on to be undefeated for the entire 2016 to 2017 season. Their eyes, of course, were looking forward to 2018, and their next chance to regain the Olympic title they won in 2010.
That’s where Moulin Rouge came in. Their free dance, set to the soundtrack of the film, is undoubtedly the moment that will forever be synonymous with Virtue and Moir’s 2018 Olympic experience. They first chose the music last spring, and the film is one with a special connection for them: It’s one of two movies the pair has ever seen together in theaters (despite their 20 year partnership!), a fact Virtue says is “hysterical.” After Sochi, Moir says they knew they wanted a piece of music that they both had an emotional link to.
“It’s what we wanted to in our skating,” he says. “It’s kind of edgy, but you do have this emotional connection to it. It gives you goosebumps, it makes you feel something every day in training. That Moulin Rouge soundtrack does that for us.”
This Olympic experience, Moir says, was sweeter than all the others, and even after participating in three games, still feels as fresh and as special as it did when they were 20 and 22 years old in Vancouver.
“What I find about Olympic games is there’s so many fantastic stories, and the celebration of sport, and to be involved in that is the honor of our lifetime,” he says. “And that’s never changed. I think that was the biggest thing that hit me this month is that it hasn’t gotten old in anyway for us, to be able to represent our countries and to be able to compete on this stage has been even more special than it was before.”
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Both have said that 2018 feels like the cumulation of their Olympic experience, but no final decisions have been made yet. (As Moir says, “We need to decide if we want to try and make it a fourth.”) In the meantime, they still have plenty more performances in the works, including a tour of Canada where they’ll be able to be “freer,” Moir says. They both say that they feel lucky that in their sport, there’s an opportunity to continue performing even if you’re not competing.
“I know we’ll be involved with the sport somewhere,” Moir says. “We’re very passionate about figure skating but it’s a huge world out there and there’s a lot of opportunity, and it’ll be so much fun to see where we go.”