Virtue and Moir to be Canada’s first dual flag bearers at 2018 Winter Olympics
By: Olivia Morris
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir will be the first dual Olympic flag bearers at next month’s opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Olympic Committee President Tricia Smith made the announcement Tuesday at a news conference at the House of Commons in Ottawa, where they congratulated the Olympic ice dancers.
“When our Olympic flag bearers march into the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, they will be carrying not just the Canadian flag, but the hopes of every young person who aspires to represent Canada at the Olympics someday,” Trudeau said.
Virtue and Moir were the first North Americans to win Olympic ice dance gold at the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver. Four years later, they won a silver medal at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
The world famous ice dancers stepped away from competition for two years after the last Winter Games. The couple made a strong comeback in 2016-17, going undefeated on the way to winning their third career world title.
“The honour of carrying the Canadian flag into the opening ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang brings with it a sense of duty, privilege, and above all, great pride,” Virtue said.
“In accepting this unparalleled honour, we commit to embodying the values and the standards that make Canada such a special place and we vow to embrace the Olympic spirit in its purest form,” Moir said.
Skate Canada’s Rachel Strong, figure skating coach and choreographer, was excited to hear the news of Virtue and Moir leading the team in Pyeongchang.
“It’s a good thing they came out of retirement,” Strong said. “As a skater myself, I feel so proud to see them making not only the skating world proud, but also all of Canada,” she said.
“What an amazing day for Team Canada, I wish them nothing but the best,” Strong said.
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While it is an honour—and privilege—to carry the country’s flag, some athletes worry it could affect their performance.
The “Curse of the Flag Bearer” is a superstition that an athlete might not perform well in his or her event after carrying their country’s flag in the opening ceremony.
Two-time Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield, Canada’s flag bearer for the London 2012 Games, crashed his bike early in the cycling portion of his triathlon. He was unable to finish the race.
In 1998 freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard not only failed to repeat as Olympic champion, but failed to make the podium after carrying the Canadian flag.
However, not all of Canada’s flag bearers succumb to the flag bearer curse. Canadian sprint kayaker and flag bearer Adam van Koeverden took home a silver in the K-1 500 metres in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the Vancouver Winter Games, Canada’s flag bearer Clara Hughes took home a bronze in her speed skating event.
“Team Canada is ready and we cannot wait to be in Pyeongchang with the Maple Leafs on our backs and in our hearts,” Moir said.
Canada and athletes from around the world will parade into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on Feb. 9 at the opening ceremony.