Some fans seem to crave this romance between skaters, clinging to fairy tales that are harmless to some athletes and hurtful to others.
In January, Duhamel and Radford were outspoken about the online criticism they receive from fans complaining they don’t “match” — Duhamel is short and Radford tall.
Virtue and Moir are the world record score holders for the original dance.
They are also the current world record holders for the short dance and the combined total score.
“When you can feign a love connection between you then you’ve done a really good job,” said Hill, adding that the audience can tell when there’s “coldness” between skaters.
That spark is a key part of performance, particularly those rooted in romance, but some say real-life romance might be detrimental.
This week, Canada’s top skaters have been competing at the world figure skating championships in Shanghai.
Ontarians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford claimed gold in the pairs Thursday, and Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje were in second after the ice dance short program. Teams like these are among the most-watched and scrutinized by Canadian skating fans — not just for their performances, but for their personal lives.
They are the youngest pair ever to win an Olympic title.
At the 2014 Winter Olympics, they won silver medals in ice dancing and in the team event.
The two kept things professional, but other skaters say it’s not uncommon to see partnerships dissolve after personal splits.
Some prefer to avoid romantic minefields altogether.“I’m definitely a firm believer in not s---ting where you eat,” said Pickering-based ice dancer, Asher Hill, with a laugh.
They became the first former World Junior ice dance champions to win the Olympics, and the first ice dance team to win the Olympic gold on home ice.