GANGNEUNG, South Korea — It was one of the most exhilarating days and fascinating clashes of styles ever seen in Olympic ice dancing.
In the end, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada prevailed by less than a point on Tuesday over their chief rivals, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, to win their third career gold medal. It was also their fifth Olympic medal over all, the most among any figure skaters.
The French couple, which had experienced a wardrobe malfunction in Monday’s short program and had appeared distracted, won Tuesday’s free dance with a world-record score. But they trailed by 1.74 points entering the final round of competition and could not withstand a challenge from the Canadian couple who skated last, performing to music from “Moulin Rouge” with great energy, emotion, drama and athletic lifts to win with 206.07 points.
“There was a lot of pressure, but I’m so happy with how we performed,” Virtue said.
Papadakis and Cizeron seemed to float across the ice with a romantic, lyrical performance, and won the silver with 205.28 points, but the crowd remained subdued during their languid, modern routine to “Moonlight” Sonata. Virtue and Moir, however, enlivened the audience with a more vigorous performance, raising the question of whether their classic style will become the one the next generation of ice dancers tries to emulate as the sport continues to evolve.