Olympic legends stun fans with massive announcement

Two-time Olympic ice dance gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have announced their retirement from the sport.

The Canadian stars electrified the 2010 Vancouver Olympics with their triumph, ending Europe's reign in the discipline.

They also won gold at the Pyeongchang Winter Games in 2018 after finishing second to Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White at Sochi in 2014.

"After 22 years, it feels like the right time to step away from the sport," Virtue said in a farewell video on Twitter.

Social media was inundated with tributes to the pair after news of their retirement.

They won three world titles, but didn't defend their crown at the World Championships at Milan in March.

"The next generation of skaters is going to blaze new trails, break all of our records and we can't wait to cheer them on," said Moir, adding that the eight-time Canadian champions "will be there watching."

Canadian pair leave behind stunning legacy

Virtue and Moir haven't competed since Pyeongchang, where they melted hearts with their breathtaking "Moulin Rouge" program, the Hollywood ending to a story 22 years in the making.

Tributes have been pouring in from fans after Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue announced their retirement. Pic: Getty

Virtue and Moir won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics with their skate to Mahler's silvery "Fifth Symphony."

Behind the scenes, Virtue was battling leg pain caused by compartment syndrome that was so severe that it was difficult to walk from her room in the athletes' village to the cafeteria.

Four years later, they were second behind American rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White in Sochi. The result didn't sit well. And so after taking two years off, they announced their return, and were unabashed in claiming nothing less than gold would be good enough.

"No one was happy (about our comeback). . . everyone was surprised, because it was such a risk," Virtue said in an interview last year.

"Maybe because we believed in ourselves and believed in what we could pursue, we felt there was so much more to do."

They were right. Beyond the Olympic medals and world records, the Canadians took ice dancing to a new level.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took out gold in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Pic: Getty

"They were always finding ways to push the limits with dance, be it technically, be it artistically, they explored so many different genres that they didn't kind of have one style and skate for their (entire) career," said Skate Canada's high performance director Mike Slipchuk. "Every year they came out with something new. They did classical, they did movies, they did Pink Floyd, they did Gene Kelly, they've done it all.

"That's what always made them unique is they always came out with something new and innovative and it pushed more teams to explore outside the box also, which is what we see now."

Their Pyeongchang performance β€” Virtue channelling her inner Nicole Kidman in a skin-tight red dress, and Moir playing a love-struck Ewan McGregor β€” made ice dancing a must-see event. In one of the biggest stories of the Games, they garnered a new generation of fans. Six of the top-10 Twitter trends in Canada in the hours after their skate were about the ice dancers.

They further cemented their spot as the country's favourite "couple" two nights later when Moir, in a Canadian tuque and with beer in hand, was spotted on television hollering at the referees during the Canadian women's heartbreaking hockey loss to the United States.

With agencies