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PyeongChang-2018

Olympians return home

Hundreds of fans filled up the tiny arrival section of the airport in London, Ont., belting out the national anthem and waving Canadian flags to welcome ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The pair signed flags, signs and Tim Hortons cups in what will be their last Olympic homecoming, as they retire from professional ice dancing after winning two sets of gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games.

Their first-place wins in ice dancing and team figure skating in South Korea brought their total Olympic medal count to five, making them the most decorated figure skaters in the history of the Games.

Similar cheering crowds greeted Canada's athletes in Vancouver, too, where gold medallists Cassie Sharpe and Patrick Chan returned Monday.

In London, Moir and Virtue were shocked by the number of people who came out to meet them.

"We're tired but this is so exciting for us, we've been thinking about this moment being back home since we won the gold medal," said Moir, who is from nearby Ilderton, Ont. "It's been unbelievable, we haven't come down from Cloud 9."

Moir said representing Canada had only gotten more special in his third Olympics with Virtue.

"None of the magic had worn off," said Moir, who together with Virtue was Canada's flag bearer at the opening ceremony. "If anything, you feel more patriotic and we understand more what it means to represent Canada and wear the flag on our back."

"It's special and sentimental because it's been 20 years in the making and it's the culmination of it all competitively," added Virtue. "It couldn't have gone any better for us."

Asked when they think they'll come down from the high of winning, Virtue replied: "do we have to?"

The duo has been melting hearts since they claimed gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games, but this year they garnered a whole new group of fans who swooned over their chemistry on the ice. Some have suggested they might be in a romantic relationship — a rumour the athletes have been denying for years.

Resident Cassie Caranci, who came to the airport early to get a spot at the front of the packed arrival section, said she has been following the skaters' careers since they started.

"It was really important for me to see them come here," Caranci said. "Seeing them in the last Winter Games and then seeing them make their comeback, I'm a proud Londoner."

In Vancouver, Chan said it was just beginning to sink in that he'd won gold in the team skating event.

"It's a nice feeling," the Toronto skater said with a grin, adding that he plans to leave it in his suitcase for a little while.

"I'll take a look at it every once in a while. It's sometimes better to keep it away and then just enjoy it once in a while."

Sharpe, from Comox, also said she was excited to be back in her own bed, cook herself some food and "just hang out." Her gold medal in freestyle skiing halfpipe was tucked into the pocket of her Team Canada sweater.

"It's phenomenal," she said. "It feels even better to hold it on Canadian soil. It feels good bringing it home."

"Personally, it's a bucket list thing. How many people get to say they won gold at the Olympics?" she added. "But then of course, feeling the pride and feeling everybody from Canada being so proud of you and being so happy that you're bringing it home to them ... it's incredible."

Women's hockey veteran Meghan Agosta was wearing her silver medal as she arrived in Vancouver. She said it was "unfortunate" that the final game against the U.S. ended in a 3-2 shootout loss.

"When it comes down to a shootout, anything could happen," she said. "But I'm so proud and happy with every single one of us girls in that room, we showed a lot of character, a lot of resilience."



More PyeongChang 2018 articles

50852


PyeongChang 2018 Medal Count
CountryGoldSilverBronzeTotal
1Norway14141139
2Germany1410731
3Canada1181029
4United States98623
5Netherlands86620
6South Korea58417
7Olympic Athlete
from Russia
26917
8Switzerland56415
9France54615
10Sweden76114


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